Lefty O'Doul's massive toy drive exceeds 10,000 goal


The Union Square bar, located at 333 Geary St., held their nearly 24-hour toy drive, which began around 5 a.m. Tuesday morning and ended at 2 a.m. this morning, with a goal of collecting more than 10,000 new and unwrapped toys, event spokesman Lee Houskeeper said.

"People get really into it because they have completed their own shopping. I believe that they really understand and feel for those less fortunate on Christmas Eve," he said.

An estimated 11,200 toys were collected for the 13th annual toy drive, Houskeeper said.

Police officers and firefighters will distribute the toys to children today.

More than 5,000 of the donated toys have already been given to children through the San Francisco Firefighters Toys Program, he said.

Donations of new and unwrapped toys were also accepted curbside or picked up for free through Luxor Cab rides.

To kick off the drive, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee alongside Police Chief Greg Suhr and Fire Chief Joanne Hayes-White stopped by Tuesday morning and sang Christmas carols with more than a dozen people around a piano at the front of the restaurant.

Entertainment continued throughout Tuesday afternoon and included a troop of dancing Santas and a band.

While San Francisco Supervisor London Breed and Suhr partnered this year with the event to help distribute toys, Houskeeper mentioned the possibility of developing more partnerships next year with organizations including the Glide Memorial Church and the Asian Cultural Center.

The toy drive also has its sights set on partnering with tech companies such as Facebook, Twitter and Uber to garner more donations, Houskeeper said.

"The idea is to get the best toy and get it to the kids who really need it as fast as possible," he said.

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