Holiday haul: Political club collects thousands of gifts for youngsters during annual toy drive

Holiday haul: Political club collects thousands of gifts for youngsters during annual toy drive
Photo by Steve Solomonson

Kind-hearted Kings Countians donated some 3,700 toys to leaders of a local political club for its annual year-end toy drive, making the season very merry for those in-need youngsters who received the presents, according to an organizer.

“When we look at the pile of toys, each one of them represents the smile of a face on a kid who otherwise wouldn’t have a gift, and that gives you a real good feeling,” said 41st Assembly District Leader and former Sheepshead Bay Councilman Lew Fidler.

Brooklynites on Dec. 20 gathered at the Sheepshead Bay headquarters of the 41st Assembly District Democrats Club to help pack the trinkets up, according to Fidler, who said locals also donated some $8,500 in cash to the effort, which group leaders used to buy 950 presents including stuffed animals, board games, basketballs, dolls, and toy cars.

Do-gooders with the American Red Cross also dropped off 600 toys for the collection, Fidler said.

Members of the United States Marines, which administers the national Toys for Tots program, also came by to help organize and distribute the toys, as did Brooklyn Cyclones mascot Pee Wee and a slew of local pols, including state Senator-elect Andrew Gounardes (D-Bay Ridge), Councilman Alan Maisel (D–Canarsie), Councilman Kalman Yeger (D-Bensonhurst), and Brooklyn Democratic Party boss Frank Seddio.

The 17th installment of the annual collection showcased the true spirit of the season of giving, according to Fidler, who thanked his fellow club leaders and those locals who volunteered their time to pitch in.

“The reason that we started doing it is because we know that a lot of people hold a party for themselves at the holidays, and we thought that doing something for the less-fortunate kids was more in the holiday spirit,” he said. “We’re thrilled to have all the help and support that we get.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.