BURLINGAME, Calif. - A Bay Area group that helps children affected by poverty is kicking off its annual toy drive in Burlingame soon, and they need your help.
A local charity is kicking off its annual toy drive in Burlingame soon. Its mission is to help children who live in some of the most difficult circumstances you can imagine.
The group, Moms against Poverty, helps children in the Bay Area and around the world through different programs and partnerships.Founder Delfarib Fanaie estimates they've helped 50,000 children over the past 10 years.
She helped found Moms against Poverty, or MAP for short, with other moms after a haunting and emotional experience. It burned a need into her heart, to help children.
Years ago she and her husband were in the process of adopting a third child from Iran, who was 11 at the time, when the girl's friend asked to be adopted. She said it was heartbreaking and that the young girl asked her, "Why not me? Why can't I be her?"
Delfaribi held her tight and made a promise to her saying, "I'm not going to allow myself and not going to allow other people to forget her. There are some children born in the life of comfort and privilege, and some children have to suffer all throughout their childhood."
And so, Moms against Poverty was born in an orphanage to ease the suffering of children. It has grown into a global organization, providing orphan care, education, and hunger relief.
Jaymie Lollie is the community school manager at Frick Impact Academy in Oakland. She explains that, once a month, they're able to submit an order to MAP and then Safeway delivers the food.
Several schools in the Oakland School District are beneficiaries, according to Lollie.
"They provided the deep freeze for us, which is really exciting," she said. "And you'll see an assortment of healthy proteins and frozen vegetables."
Lollie says the hunger relief program is structured in a way that allows low-income parents to retain their dignity. There's a side entrance, so no one ever has to know.
Moms Against Poverty started the Oakland relationship five years ago with help from Councilwoman Desley Brooks.
"They wanted to come into Oakland and they had some difficulty," said Brooks. "So I told them I could help them work that out. They've adopted six locations in my district - one rec center and the rest schools."
Easing hunger is just one of the ways Moms against Poverty is helping, according to Lollie.
There's also a hygiene program for school uniforms and clothes for physical education classes.
"We've been taking all of these home, so a staff member, everyone in the front office, has taken clothes home to wash over the weekend," Lollie said.
"We need to support and raise up these children," says Anahita Safavi, board of advisors member. "Help them be positive citizens in the community and to feel good about themselves."
Safavi is the liaison between Moms against Poverty and the schools. She also adopted a child from Iran.
And Brooks adds, "One of the things that has been really special about MAP is they don't want to anything out of charity. Everything they do is out of the sense of what's right."
They all agree that it makes a huge difference when the basic needs of children are met. Then, they can focus on education.
"If you give them that gift, they can bring themselves out of that poverty," said Fanaie. "All they need is the tools. They all have the potential."
MAP is getting ready for its holiday gift card program on Dec. 12. They collect gift cards and new donated toys. Then MAP gives them to school principals to give to parents. The group would like the children to receive gifts from their parents, not a charity.
"I just feel extremely honored and blessed to work with the women," says Ruby de Tie, principal the Frick Impact Academy. "It's changed our community and I'm excited to expand and grow."
Click here to learn more about Moms Against Poverty.