Seeing the eyes of a child unwrapping a package from Santa is a picture of pure joy. But for children who have few other sources of gleaming holiday spirit in their lives, it is a reminder of the powerful impact of giving.
Spreading that kind of cheer is the idea behind an annual toy drive sponsored for the last 10 years by Albert Rodriguez and Stephanie Danyluk of Realty Executives in Newhall. The public is encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy for any aged child to their office, located at 24106 Lyons Ave. in Newhall, on Sunday, Dec. 11 between 1 – 4 p.m.
There is a “drive thru” opportunity, making it easy for busy residents to contribute without ever leaving their cars. For those interested in a visit with Santa, or with Star Wars” characters, who will be on hand for free photo opportunities, there is ample parking available. Kids will not only see Darth Vader and Storm Troopers, but also, bona fide United States Marines play a part in this “Toys for Tots” tradition.
“Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 by a Marine by the name of Major Bill Hendricks in Los Angeles County,” Danyluk said. “His wife made a handmade doll.”
It was actually Walt Disney who designed the Toys for Tots train logo in 1948 and created the first national poster. The non-profit organization is headquartered in Quantico, Virginia.
Rodriguez was in the Marine Corps for 12 years, where he participated in Toys for Tots and other charity work. This is the real estate team’s 10th year sponsoring the event, this year creating a joint project between Toys for Tots and Spark of Love, which is a charity hosted by the L.A. County Fire Fighters and ABC7.
The toys donated through Toys for Tots and Spark of Love will be delivered to needy children through a variety of organizations, foster parenting programs and churches in two participating counties.
“Albert and I work directly with Karen Davis, who is in charge of the L.A. County and Kern County Toys for Tots region,” Danyluk said.
For individuals who cannot drop off toys on Dec. 11 there are boxes located in all three of the Realty Executives offices, as well as other local businesses. Pick up by volunteers is also available.
Through events like the Toys for Tots drive, people with vision, like Albert Rodriguez and Stephanie Danyluk, hold up a lens for the community to see the possibilities for needy boys and girls.
For more information, contact the AROD Team at Realty Executives at (661) 209-8959.