It’s the season of giving — and not just to friends and family. Many people want to donate toys so kids less fortunate will also have a joyous holiday. Here are 8 places across Long Island that are seeking new, unwrapped toys to distribute to those in need.
Long Island Head Start/Suffolk County
Head Start is looking for new, unwrapped toys and books for kids and babies through age 5. "We serve 2,000 at-risk and vulnerable children in Suffolk County," says Carol Burnett, community outreach training manager. "Our neediest families will be the recipients." Drop off 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays at any of the 25 Suffolk Head Start locations: Call 631-758-5200 ext. 140 for center locations; liheadstart.org.
Toys for Tots/U.S. Marine Corps
For 71 years, the U.S. Marine Corps has been collecting new, unwrapped toys and distributing them to underprivileged children in their local communities. Visit toysfortots.org to find drop-off options in each county or to make a monetary donation. Drop off at various locations in Nassau through Dec. 15 and Suffolk hrough Dec. 16. Contact: Nassau: 516-228-6935; toysfortots.org.
Pronto of Long Island
Groceries and clothing bank Pronto's collection of new, unwrapped toys for ages baby through age 12 will allow parents to go "shopping" for toys to give to their children. They especially need toys for boys 10 and older, such as soccer balls or basketballs."We anticipate distributing 700 toys to our needy families," says Vivian Hart, president of the board of Pronto. "We also have an adopt-a-family program that's been very popular and beneficial for our neediest families." Drop off 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. weekdays (9 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursdays) at 128 Pine Aire Dr., Bay Shore through Dec. 23. Contact: 631-231-8290; prontolongisland.org.
Long Island Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence
Bring new, unwrapped toys for ages 7 through 20 and they will be distributed to children in LICADD's Buddy Mentor Program, which serves families in which one parent is incarcerated. Drop off 9 a.m. to 5 p.m on Monday through Friday at the LICADD offices at 1025 Old Country Rd., Suite 221, Westbury, through December 20th. Contact: 516-747-2606; licadd.org.
John Theissen Children’s Foundation
This is the 28th Annual Holiday Toy and Fund Drive for the foundation, which delivers toys to sick and underprivileged children on Long Island. Drop off 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily (including weekends) at 1881 Wantagh Ave., Wantagh, through Dec. 23; for other locations visit the website. Contact: 516-679-TOYS; jtcf.org.
Ronald McDonald House Charities New York Metro
"The House provides comfort and shelter to families with critically ill children being served in area hospitals," says Deepika Thadhani, public relations and marketing manager for the house. The holiday Wish List includes toys for infants, toddlers and teenagers. Ideas for teenagers are headphones, gift cards and electronics, she says. Visit the website for a wish list of specific toy needs. Drop off between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m. daily at 267-07 76th Ave., New Hyde Park, through Dec. 31. Contact: 516-775-5683 ext. 137; rmhlongisland.org.
Hicksville Boys & Girls Club
New, unwrapped toys for middle and high school students ages 11 through 18 will be distributed to kids in need in the Hicksville and surrounding communities, says Tom Bruno, executive director. The club also has an adopt-a-family program to match people with individual families to purchase presents for the kids, Bruno says. Drop off 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays at 79 W. Old Country Rd., Hicksville through Dec. 20. Contact: 516-822-7594; hycbgc.com.
Toys of Hope
"With the amount of people we're supplying, we need every possible toy we can get," says Melissa Doktofsky, who founded the all-volunteer Toys of Hope in 1994 to help more than 80,000 children. The new, unwrapped toy effort runs through Jan. 6, Three Kings Day, and the charity will even accept toys through Jan. 15 because it usually has families on a waiting list. See specific shopping lists or adopt a family at toysofhope.org; Drop off at 640 New York Ave., Huntington.