Brian Gotlieb believes in giving back. The Coney Island resident, who is extremely active in his community, started the Shorefront Toys for Tots organization to help brighten the lives of sick and underprivileged children in his neighborhood.
When he was a child, Gotlieb’s mother instilled in him the importance of giving back and being active in the community. When his mother died in 1993 at the age of 52, Gotlieb decided to honor her memory by creating Shorefront Toys for Tots.
On Tues., Dec. 18, Gotlieb, along with other civic leaders, brought the collected toys to the children at NYC Health + Hospitals/Coney Island.
Assemblymember William Colton, Gotlieb, Chief of Pediatrics Dr. Warren Seigel, hospital CEO William Brown and other doctors and volunteers brought the bundles of toys to the hospital’s pediatric department, going room to room to distribute them to the children.
“I was very honored to participate with Toys for Tots and to see the smiles on the faces of the children when they received the toys, and the faces of the parents as their child received a toy,” Colton told this paper. “I especially enjoy being with Brian Gotlieb to see the gifts distributed to the children each year.”
Gotlieb explained that the organization also sponsors child safety and anti-bullying programs in conjunction with the district attorney, as well as blood drives with Coney Island Hospital. He added that the success of the organization involves a lot of people who contribute in a variety of ways including monetary donations or volunteering their time.
“Since we started in 1995, the organization has reached out to approximately 40,000 kids,” Gotlieb told this paper. “We’ve had the honor and privilege of helping put 40,000 smiles on the faces of children who need it most.”
Apart from distributing toys to Coney Island Hospital during the holidays, the group also gives gifts to underprivileged children in schools within District 21, which includes Coney Island, Brighton Beach, Gravesend and Bensonhurst.
“This is a labor of love for me,” Gotlieb said. “I’m just walking in my mother’s footsteps and trying to put forward what she tried to teach me before she passed away.”