TOYS FOR JOY | SOUTHEAST
Getting into the Christmas spirit has been a struggle for Elizabeth Gutierrez Ramirez, her husband Juan and her 5-year-old daughter, Julianna. Just three weeks ago, they lost their toddler Bella, Julianna’s 3-year-old sister, to Leigh syndrome.
On Saturday, December 12, however, the family was all smiles as they celebrated during Rock Church’s 19th annual Toys for Joy at Lincoln High and Porter Elementary schools in southeast San Diego. The smiles turned to laughter when they discovered they had a winning bicycle raffle ticket. “It was a blessing,” said a grateful Elizabeth Ramirez, who said it has been difficult to stay positive and motivated for her 5-year-old, who chose a training bike with Disney’s “Frozen” motif. “We’re trying to raise our spirits more because of the holidays, so this was a blessing to her. Taking Julianna out today kept our minds busy and not thinking too much about losing our daughter.”
Read more about the event at Lincoln High School here.
TOYS FOR JOY | EAST COUNTY
These are troubled times.
As the world seems to spiral out of control, it would be easy to imagine that there is no hope, no joy and certainly no love to be found anywhere.
On Saturday, Dec. 12, residents of San Diego County found all of the above – hope, joy and love – along with a healthy dose of Christmas spirit at the four different Toys for Joy sites scattered throughout the county. For 19 years, Toys for Joy, a holiday outreach program founded by the Rock Church, has provided free toys, clothing, groceries and personal services to those attending the event.
Read more about the event in East County here.
TOYS FOR JOY | NORTH COUNTY
The corps of volunteers even included local high school students, who signed up to help in exchange for community service hours. Carolina, a helpful young lady who was senior at San Marcos High School, said an announcement was made in her AVID class, and she thought, “Why not?”
Read more about the event in North County here.
TOYS FOR JOY | SOUTHWEST
Whether it was their festive costumes or the smile on their faces, excitement filled the air as guests were greeted by the volunteers at Toys for Joy Southwest High School campus. In its inaugural year, 2023 attendees enjoyed many of the same familiarities at the other Toys for Joy sites but closer to home. As plans to expand to another site unfolded throughout this past year, the planning team continued to hear stories about how attendees would travel hours round trip on bus to the Lincoln site and sometimes couldn’t bring back a bike they won because of space. But that all changed December 12, as Toys for Joy came closer to their neighborhood.
Read more about the event in Southwest San Diego here.