Giving back to children in need and honoring women that lead by example was the theme as Shorefront Toys for Tots hosted its annual Pre-Mother’s Day Brunch.
The event, held at Sirico’s Restaurant, 8023 13th Avenue, on Saturday, April 16 was yet another success for the organization that helps children in need. In addition to money and items donated to youngsters all over the borough, six “Surrogate Mothers” were honored for having gone above and beyond the call of duty to help kids from the community.
“It was a very successful event. Over 200 people were in attendance,” said Brian Gotlieb, president of the organization. “The event, which we’ve been doing for the last few years, is a fundraising event that reaches out to children all over Brooklyn. People came to donate toys or made a donation through their attendance. We’ve been able to reach out to more children.”
Shorefront Toys for Tots, which now helps over 36,000 children throughout Brooklyn, started in 1995 in memory of Gotlieb’s mother, Myrna Helene Gotlieb. “She passed away on my birthday and was buried the day before her birthday in 1993. She was going to be 53 years old,” he said, stating that he received his desire to help others from her. “I wanted to follow in my in mother’s footsteps in helping others. She was very active and involved in children’s causes. One of the things she always did was teach me that I have to be actively involved in the community. Don’t sit on your hands and watch everyone do while you watch.”
Gotlieb was also pleased with this year’s honorees. “We recognized people who have followed into my mother’s steps, women who go about their day helping improve the quality of life of children without looking for recognition,” he said. “It’s the right thing to do. And we’ve been blessed over the years to have a number of honorees that don’t look for the attention.”
This year’s honorees were Antonella Bove, principal of P.S. 215; Ann Marie Lettieri-Baker, principal of P.S. 177; Erin Lynch, principal of I.S. 96; Arelis Martinez, Democratic district leader in the 51st A.D.; Katherine Moloney, principal of P.S. 100; and Nancy Tong, Democratic district leader in the 47th Assembly District.
“They help children, provide them with the foundation they need to succeed in the future,” Gotlieb added. “That’s the type of person we look to recognize. We think these people carry a philosophy day in and day out that deserves to be applauded by their peers and the community.”
Ultimately, the day was all about the children. “The attitude of the organization is that whatever toy or book or puzzle is donated won’t take away all of a child’s hurt or take away whatever disease is ailing him or her. But even if they play with a gift for 20 minutes, they don’t have to worry about what ails them. It also shows that someone is concerned,” Gotlieb said.
Gotlieb expressed his delight that so many people were on hand to support the cause. “There are different organizations that do wonderful work,” he said. “I’m honored that they decided to share their money and time with us. I appreciate it, the children appreciate it, and the organization appreciates it.”