Ain’t it a beautiful sight!
A coalition of kind-hearted veterans, the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, and the American Legion transported a treasure trove of Christmas presents collected through Toys for Tots to Floyd Bennett Field in a massive convoy that mustered at Gerritsen Beach on Dec. 13. Toys that the truckin’ convoy hauled were piled thick as bugs on a bumper, one volunteer said.
“Just from the MTA, we had a bus and a half loaded up with toys,” said Father Michael Gelfant, pastor at Saint Finbar Church and a chaplain with the transit authority. “That’s on the seats, in the aisles, and in the storage underneath. That’s about the only way I can quantify it.”
The rigs were lined with teddy bears that more than 120 Brooklyn businesses donated. The convoy — which included seven-ton military truck, two fire trucks, an ambulance, and various civilian vehicles — met at a Gerritsen Avenue building that the Marine Corps League of Brooklyn has been using for the past three months as a staging ground for the massive toy drive, according to Mark Jordan, a Corps veteran and member of the league.
The convoy also included the transit authority’s Bus 2185 — better known as the 9-11 Bus — which was emblazoned with the star-spangled banner after falling debris covered it following the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
The caravan got the 10–4 to head out at around 11 am, pullin’ Lincoln logs and haulin’ stuffed dogs. By the time it reached Floyd Bennett Field, the convoy had more than 85 vehicles in all — nearly 250 motorcyclists representing 15 Kings County riding clubs joined in, volunteers said.
At the base, volunteers sorted the toys for gender- and age-appropriateness before distributing them throughout the Five Boroughs.
Father Gelfant performed a blessing on the toy-laden trucks to ensure the gifts brought good cheer and joy to their pint-sized recipients, he said.
“We gave our blessing on the toys, hoping that things turn around for the kids who receive it and that they have a good holiday season. It’s a good opportunity to introduce god into the season. Whether you’re Jewish or Christian, it’s because of god that we celebrate this time of giving.”