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Many Toys, Much Joy
By Anita Palmer - December 12, 2008

The annual Toys for Joy Community Outreach Event brought more than toys and joy to 8,000 children and their families Saturday, December 13.

In spite of cloudy skies and cool temperature, the daylong festivities at King/Chavez School on 31st Street in Barrio Logan ministered to the entire community in partnership with 14 area churches. The thousands of recipients formed a line around a city block that lasted eight hours.

Other numbers were huge too: 6,000 toys; 20,000 gifts for teens; 8 pallets of hygiene products; 100,000 articles of clothing; 1,000 pounds of donated chicken. Approximately 1,110 volunteers manned the toy room; did crowd control; performed and entertained; or served in the food court, and the the Kid Zone, which had three air jumps, a toy table, and a clown zone.

Nadege, a volunteer, said a mother told her, “We’ve been standing in line for the last three hours.” The woman had five children with her. “But it’s worth the wait. We really appreciate what you guys are doing.”

During the weeks preceding the December 13 event, volunteers painted many of King/Chavez's walls, and created murals for the school. Kids in the King/Chavez's art classes helped as well.

"It was great to see several of the staff at the school volunteered for the event as well. They were amazed by the magnitude of the event and the impact it had on their school and community. Their passion for the children was clearly evident." said Michele Kassa, a Rock Church volunteer who directed Toys for Joy.

The numbers don't tell the whole story, of course. One single mother with three children received $1,000 in gift cards and toys from an anonymous Rock Church donor who gave the funds in the names of the friends and family on his Christmas list. Then another man donated Christmas decorations, and the Latinos Connect Network from Intuit Inc. donated more than $300 worth of groceries, gifts and blankets. The family also chose articles of clothing from the clothing room. A Christmas to remember!

Thanks to all the Toys for Joy supporters. They include volunteers, artists and entertainers; community churches; financial contributors; and partners like the King/Chavez School, the San Diego Park & Rec Department, and San Diego officials for permit assistance. In addition, the following provided materials and food:

* Albertsons
* Chick-Fil-A
* Chris Maire
* Coleman Moving Systems
* Frazee Paint
* Heartland Meat Co.
* Intuit Latinos Connect Network
* Jesus Christ is Lord Trucking Company
* Los Primos
* No Fear Clothing
* Partner Signs
* Rady Children's 10 Mobile
* Restaurant Depot
* Rock Café
* Rockpile Bookstore
* San Diego Food Bank
* San Diego Rescue Mission
* SDSU Underground
* Toys for Tots
* World Vision

Related Stories:
Reflections on Toys for Joy

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