Dear Editor - As we reflect on the dizzying array of events which took place during the 2019 Season of Hope Toy Drive, we are struck by the abundance of gifts we received. Not just in the sheer volume of new, unwrapped toys which were donated for children and teens, but in the deceptively small things which took place along the way.
Small things like the grins on the faces of scores of children from 37 different schools as they helped to pack decorated school buses full of donated toys for their peers.
Or watching the staff of a local marine business roll back the canvas on a sleek, sport boat to reveal almost 800 new toys collected with the help of first responders.
Or the goofiness displayed by a group of executives as they careened across a room on tiny bikes assembled by their colleagues in a friendly competition to supply new bicycles to children in need.
Or the pride displayed by local firefighters as the communities they serve answered the call to bring hundreds of new toys to their Santa Breakfasts.
Or the diligence of a group of children as they packed 4,000 cookies baked by college students and a grocer’s bakery department into decorated gift bags for parents in need.
Or watching the parade of volunteers arrive at Project Self-Sufficiency day after day to help sort and organize toys into a shop where parents in need could select items for their children with dignity.
Or the holiday music wafting through the toy shop as it was performed hour after hour by teen and adult musicians who volunteered to serenade patrons and volunteers.
Never have we witnessed such joy in action. Never have there been so many beautiful moments.
Thousands of families benefited from the Season of Hope Toy Shop in December. A record number of children, 2,240, received toys at Christmas. But the Season of Hope Toy Drive is so much more than just toys. The outpouring of generosity assures parents in need that the community truly cares about them and their children. It means that we all live in a community where joy, hope and concern for each other can be found in abundance. These efforts help Project Self-Sufficiency to transform lives all year round, but this tremendous tidal wave of generosity is truly inspiring. Thank you.
Wishing you a New Year filled with joy and gratitude,
Dolores and Jim Fernandez, Season of Hope Toy Shop Co-Chairpersons
Beverly Gordon, President, Project Self-Sufficiency Board of Directors
Deborah Berry-Toon, Executive Director, Project Self-Sufficiency