Toys Sought for Santa Event

By: 
Kirt Ramirez

The Wrap the Kids organization has started collecting toys for its annual toy drive.

Wrap The Kids, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit in North Long Beach, serves those experiencing homelessness by providing hand-sewn blankets that the poor can “wrap the kids” and themselves in to keep warm.

The storefront at 297 E. Artesia Blvd. functions as a year-round multiservice center for the less fortunate, where people can get a bite to eat, wash up, receive hygiene kits, clothing and resource information.

Many of the volunteers are themselves homeless and give back to the community through the corporation.

For the past five years – as long as Wrap the Kids has been in existence – the organization has put on a toy drive, which grows bigger each year. In a festive environment with cotton snow and Christmas trees, children and parents pose for pictures with Santa and then the child picks out the unwrapped toy of his or her liking.

New, unwrapped toys of any kind are gladly accepted.

“Wrap the Kids would like to thank everyone in advance for putting smiles on the children’s faces and helping bring Santa to Northtown,” said Wrap the Kids founder and CEO Susanna Twaite.

“Those kids run to go and sit on Santa’s lap,” she said. “They get so excited.”

Last year the Saturday-before-Christmas event took place on a large, empty parcel of dirt on Long Beach Boulevard and 51st Street where 250 toys were given away. It took five days to construct “Santa’s Village” and volunteers camped in tents to keep an eye on everything.

Wrap the Kids is working on securing the same location for this year.

In the meantime, for anyone wishing to give to the cause, toys can be either dropped off at Wrap The Kids or a pick up can be arranged by emailing wrapthekids@gmail.com or by calling (562) 358-0059.

Tax-deductible monetary gifts are always welcomed and appreciated through the website wrapthekids.org.

“It’s a good thing that the community comes together as a whole,” said volunteer Michael Eddie Martinez, who recently obtained housing and is on the right path. “It shows unity and it gives a good output for the community and its homeless volunteers.”

Volunteer Steven Fry set up Christmas trees last year and helped out in many ways.

“I like seeing the expression on the children’s faces when they get a present.”

kirt@beachcomber.news

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