Fidler puts Santa out of work!

Welcome to Lew’s land of toys: Councilman Lew Fidler (D-Marine Park) is overwhelmed by how many people donated gifts at his annual toy drive on Thursday — one of the biggest toy drives in the city.
Photos by Steve Solomonson

Christmas came early to Avenue R last Thursday — and Santa’s elves were working overtime.

Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park) and the 41st A.D. Democrats Club, the team responsible for hosting the Community First Toy Drive — the city’s largest Toys for Tots collection five years running — exceeded all expectations on Dec. 15 as they accumulated 8,674 toys, smashing last year’s record of 7,790 to smithereens.

The stellar event, run by Fidler staffer Bryan Lee, brought in a wide variety of unwrapped dolls, games, action figures, puzzles, and more to the 41st A.D. Democrats Club office on Avenue R near Haring Street.

Fidler’s happy, but muscle weary, helpers joyfully packaged all the presents — all of which are guaranteed to bring a smile to a needy child’s face — throughout the night, before handing them over to the U.S. Marine Corps, which ovesees Toys for Tots drives nationwide.

The joy was contagious, with Fidler getting absolutely giddy as he gazed at the heaping pile of toys in front of him.

“Just imagine all those kids whose lives we’re going to impact this holiday season,” Fidler said.

Lee, Fidler’s chief elf, agreed.

“There are going to be over 8,000 kids who’ll probably never know us, but will know there are people out there who care about them,” Lee said. “Sometimes knowing there are people out there who care is more important than the gifts themselves.”

The U.S. Marine Corps estimate that one out of every 29 gifts Toys for Tots will give out this season was donated from the Community First Toy Drive.

Reach reporter Thomas Tracy at ttracy@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260-2525.

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