Oakland toy drive bringing joy to low-income kids

December 19, 2011 6:57:50 PM PST
Many Oakland families are going through hard times because of the slow economy and that is why city officials are asking for help to bring toys to low-income kids.

Officials distributed gifts in East Oakland Monday. They will be moving back to city hall Tuesday, but say they may not have enough toys for every kid.

"I want a scooter," one boy told ABC7's Lyanne Melendez.

The little boy went to the East Oakland toy drive with great expectations.

"And, I want a bike," he added. "And, action figures."

He may not get what's on his A-list of toys. Still, he left the toy driveswith a bag of goodies. Some parents say without the Oakland toy drive, their children would have no presents.

"No, it's really, really hard right now. It's so difficult to get something for our kid. So, this is really, really wonderful," Gloria Sanchez said.

This is the fourth toy drive put on by the city of Oakland. In the past, families had to pick up their bags at city hall, but this year, city officials decided to expand it by bringing the toys closer to neighborhoods in need.

"This would be an additional hardship if they had to travel all the way downtown Oakland. It would just be another adverse impact on the them economically," explained Douglas Butler with "Men of Valor Academy," an Oakland non-profit. Last year, they helped 6,000 low-income kids. This year, they plan to give toys to 8,000.

Mayor Jean Quan says they still need to raise another $10,000 to help buy gifts through Friday. "Clearly, some parents immediately take the bags and put them under their coats so the kids can't see them. Those are the parents for whom this will be the only Christmas gifts," she said.

Many kids were grateful Monday knowing there will be gifts under the tree this year.

"And, you get all new toys to play with and you have joy, " one boy said.

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