In what’s become an annual tradition, on Tues., Dec. 18, Gift of Giving celebrated its seventh year of giving back to the children of the community.
The event was held at the Dyker Heights Golf Club located at 1030 86th Street, where 200 children and their families were invited to attend an afternoon of fun that included a variety of activities.
The toy drive was a joint venture by members of the student government organization of the High School of Telecommunication Arts and Technology and the student council from P.S. 9-Teunis G. Bergen School in Prospect Heights. Students from the two schools collected and wrapped over 900 toys donated by local businesses, neighbors, friends and families.
According to event founder Carlo Lenzi, Gift of Giving benefits families who are in need during the holiday season. “My parents died young, I grew up in in an orphanage, and now I want to share my blessings and help spread the spirit of the season with those who are a little less fortunate,” Lenzi told this paper.
Students and families from P.S. 120, P.S. 147, P.S.1, P.S. 24, P.S. 506 and NYU Langone Family Health Centers were among those that received presents. The children had the opportunity to sit on Santa’s lap and take a picture with him.
Toys were also distributed to Toys for Tots and NYU Langone Hospital-Brooklyn. Adult guests received hand towels and winter socks, and two bikes were raffled off courtesy of Mr. C’s Cycles.
“Our goal is to ensure that everybody has at least one gift for Christmas,” said event co-founder Cynthia Felix-Jeffers. “For many, this will be the only gift they will receive. We want to make the day special. The students who collect the toys get to learn the gift of giving, and the importance of giving back and helping those in need. They develop leadership skills early in life so they learn what it is to give back to their community.”
This year’s event sponsors included Casper’s Cuts, the Clarimar Group, Industry City, Mr. C’s Cycles, Capital One Bank Sunset Park, Attanasio & Associates, the Sunset Park Lions Club, Gold & Diamond Wholesale Outlet, JT Printing 21 and UnitedHealth.
Students and families also enjoyed a hot buffet with food and beverages donated by Sunset Bagels and Dyker Beach Golf Club. “I’m very grateful for everyone who donated toys and food as well as those who volunteered their time,” Felix-Jeffers said. “Without them, we would not be able to do this.”