Toy, coat drive to benefit East Bay school

Organizers are hoping Bay Area residents will help raise more than 300 toys and 100 warm coats (sizes 5T to 14) in time for the holidays.

"The Verde Holiday Drive is a great opportunity for those of us who live in and serve the Richmond community to bring real joy to the youth of the North Richmond community," Contra Costa County Supervisor John Gioia said in a statement.

"With the downturn in the economy, this year is particularly difficult for families to have a gift under the tree. We're still trying to reach our goal of one toy for every child, and a coat for each child who needs one," Gioia said.

Terrance Cheung, chief of staff of the Office of Supervisor Gioia, added that while awareness of poverty increases during the holiday season, a typically slow start to donations has been "nerve-wracking."

"Usually people don't know about it and then push in the last week. We're hoping people will remember to get the word out," Cheung said.

Cash and check donations payable to the North Richmond Neighborhood House are tax deductible and must be received no later than Dec. 15 at noon.

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