Hundreds of low-income families receive holiday toys from Novato nonprofit

ByCornell Barnard KGO logo
Sunday, December 17, 2023
Low-income families receive holiday toys from Novato nonprofit
In the North Bay, hundreds of families in need received the holiday they had been hoping for Saturday.

NOVATO, Calif. (KGO) -- In the North Bay, hundreds of families in need received the holiday they had been hoping for Saturday. For five decades, a Marin County nonprofit has been giving away toys and bikes for kids in underserved communities.

This season, the high cost of living has left many families struggling.

Santa and Mrs. Claus were posing for pics and listening to a lot of wish lists from kids in North Marin.

"Because in Mexico, we don't have any toys. I tell them you were lucky to have all these presents," said Maria Mercado from Novato.

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Mercado's son just got a bike and a bag of toys.

It's all part of the annual Holiday Share and Toy Drive hosted by nonprofit North Marin Community Services, helping to empower low-income families.

Mercado says because of them, Christmas will happen after all.

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"They are amazing, because we pay a lot of rent in this area, and we don't have a lot of money to get presents for him," Mercado said.

It's the 51st year for this holiday giveaway event, benefiting 485 children. Directors say many families are living on the sharp edge of the Bay Area's economy.

"The need is so high right now, we have 90 people on the waitlist for rental assistance. We're grateful donations are coming in," said Cheryl Paddack, CEO of North Marin Community Services.

About 2,000 toys were donated for the giveaway.

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"It's amazing. We're going to see what's in here and put it under our tree, and it's going to add to the excitement for them," said parent Christy Dupree.

Dupree's two sons can't wait to see what's inside.

At a time when it seems everything is expensive, many parents are feeling relieved and grateful for the things their kids are wishing for this season.

"I think it's extremely difficult for people right now, and the fact that we're going to bring toys and gifts to people during the holidays is extremely gratifying," Paddack said.

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