By Anne Cheek La Rose
Christmas is such a happy time for families, but there are those who are unable to do all they would like for their children. Many families are struggling and this year is no exception.
Councilman Alex Padilla has sponsored an annual District 2 Toy Drive for each of the years he has been in office. The joy he takes in this annual project is evident on his face. He expends a lot of energy calling on sponsors to donate toys and even digs into his own pocket to be sure no child is disappointed.
The Councilman and his wife, Stella, decorated the District 2 Community Center the previous Wednesday afternoon. A beautiful tree, poinsettias, and holiday figurines are all around the Center. As last Saturday morning arrived and the Center’s doors were flung open for the toy drive, the space was alive with holiday music and cheer. The Councilman also provided refreshments for the guests.
Almost immediately the Councilman was welcoming people with armfuls of toys. Some dropped off toys, others placed their toy donations around the Christmas tree and stayed to enjoy the fellowship. Soon, the room had exploded with toys everywhere! Stuffed teddy bears, Disney princess dolls, footballs, basketballs, Hot Wheels and other cars, games, toys for babies, and toys for toddlers – everyone will receive a gift.
“It was a heartfelt day seeing the community come together for such a special event during this holiday season. Toys galore - it was certainly a success”, exclaimed one resident. “There were Inglewood residents from every district who came to make heartfelt contributions and had the opportunity to meet other residents and share a cookie. Many who had not met the Councilman had the opportunity to do so”, said another. Another noted, “It warms my heart to be part of this event year after year.”
Where do all these toys go? Councilman Padilla partners with Mari Morales, and her local non-profit, One for All, that encourages education through good grades, and perfect attendance for elementary students. Some of the toys collected will be given to families in District 2, whom the Councilman has identified as needing a bit of help this year.
One for All will be distributing the toys this Saturday, December 17, from noon – 3pm, at St. John Chrysostom Church, 529 Grace Ave. On hand for the festivities will be Santa’s elves helping with refreshments, leading a sing-a-long, and playing games with the children. Mr. and Mrs. Claus will be there to distribute the toys as each child shows their most recent report card. However, no child is turned away. If grades and attendance need improvement, the child is encouraged in a gentle way to ‘do better’ next reporting period. Few do not respond to this method. Councilman Padilla will also be there to enjoy the event.
Councilman Padilla had this to say, “The District 2 Toy Drive was a huge success because of the support we received from business owners and community members that all donated toys to help make this year’s Christmas a special event for many families in the Inglewood community. As a Councilman, I am very thankful for everyone that donated to our D2 toy drive.”