Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens Holds First Ever Toy Drive

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By Jessica Easthope

Boxes of toys came flooding in at Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens’ first ever toy drive on Dec. 10. In years past, Catholic Charities collected toys from other groups and distributed them during the Christmas season. This year they’re taking charge — and all the toys they can get.

“For the children to have them, still believe that there is a Christmas and people still care so more than ever, we need to be there for our community,” said Debbie Hampson, Senior Director of Community Health and Wellness Services at Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens.

Nearly 900,000 New Yorkers are unemployed this Christmas. Those who came Thursday with toys for kids of all ages said giving back is more important than ever before.

“This year we need a little Christmas it has been so hard. So many people have passed away, and so many people are despondent and in despair. We need a little bit of Christmas,” said Antonio Burzi, who came to donate a puzzle.

“This pandemic has made such a difference in the lives of so many people. That’s what it’s all about: to give to people in need,” said Barbara Slattery who donated Frozen themed toys.

A single box of toys was nearly full when Tammy Rivera, a representative from the New York City Council of Carpenters, came with a truckload of donations.

“It’s about helping one another right now. Everyone is essential you ask me and for those who can’t do it for their families this year we’re going to help you do it for your family,” Tammy said.

Catholic Charities Brooklyn and Queens is hoping to have toys for more than 2,000 kids this year. The first distribution is on December 17 in Rego Park, Queens at Our Lady of the Angelus Church.