By Jessica Easthope
Isa Maldonado says lately she’s hardly felt like supermom. In and out of work since the pandemic began, when it comes to her four-year-old daughter – she’s had to sacrifice the extras to pay for increasingly expensive essentials like food and utilities. But on Tuesday, that changed.
“It’s a wonderful feeling, because when you don’t have it you’re sad,” Isa said. “They believe in Christmas but it’s a beautiful feeling.”
Isa’s family is one of 900 who registered to be part of Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens’ annual toy drive. This year the need was greater than ever – one of the toys might be the only thing 3,000 children see under the tree this year.
“We’re saying to them you’re not alone, we’re here with you and we’ll walk with you as long as we have to,” said CEO of Catholic Charities Brooklyn & Queens, Msgr. Alfred LoPinto.
As COVID spikes once again, the future is uncertain and people are grateful – to say the least.
“Things like this make you believe, it’s a miracle, there has to be something out there looking out for us,” said Isa.
For Roberto Ramirez, he says it’s a gift from above.
“It’s a gift from God,” Roberto said. “You can never lose hope and faith in others because good things can come.”
This year, the toy drive was set up at Our Lady of the Angelus Church in Rego Park, Queens. People walked in, were given an elf to shop with inside Santa’s toy shop and picked one gift for each child from a selection that made it look and feel like the real thing.
At a time of the year that’s financially hard on most – these families say Catholic Charities has restored their faith and belief in the magic of Christmas.
“This is a blessing,” said Kenia Chamorro. “Having 5 kids it’s difficult, it’s expensive and to find this is very hard but thank God I did.”
In addition to toys, every family was given a bag of food. It’s a little extra – that goes a long way.