The Long Beach Rescue Mission recently hosted its Annual Toy Drive to benefit local families with children this holiday season.
LONG BEACH – The Long Beach Rescue Mission held its annual Holiday Toy Drive on Dec.18 to help provide families in need with holiday gifts for their children.
For over 40 years, the community has partnered with the Long Beach Rescue Mission to deliver Christmas toys to children in the community, and this year continued that cherished tradition.
“The idea is that we continue to provide resources to our community, whether it is meals, gifts and things like this. So this is huge, especially this time of year, so we can give something special from our hearts to our community,” said Nick Roberts, Project Coordinator at Long Beach Rescue Mission.
With the assistance of residents, staff, and volunteers, the Rescue Mission was able to hand out donated toys to over 300 little kids during this year’s event. This year also marked the return of the in-person distribution of toys as last year’s was heavily modified due to COVID-19 restrictions.
For the 2020 drive, toys were still collected from the local community, but families were unable to come together and enjoy the festivities that usually accompany the charitable event. The Rescue Mission was able to partner with Habitat for Humanity to distribute last year’s donations to local children individually to avoid a crowded gathering.
This year’s toy drive, held at the Rescue Mission’s Samaritan House, successfully returned and gave a bit of normalcy to all involved. Although precautions regarding the pandemic were still taken to ensure the safety of all who attended, the families were seen enjoying themselves while the children were greeted by Santa and given a wrapped present.
Toys were distributed to low-income families who cannot afford to celebrate the holidays as well as to the children who stay at the Rescue Mission’s Lydia House with their mothers.
Interim Executive Director Terry Miller expressed his gratitude to all who helped make the event a success; especially to the volunteers who were and always are crucial to the Rescue Mission and their efforts to serve the community.
“We had over 300 kids that came and received toys. Somebody had to pass those toys out. Someone had to look into those kid’s faces and just encourage them and give them a hug”, said Miller.
In addition to the Toy Drive, the Rescue Mission will also host their annual Christmas Dinner this week. Donations for the dinner are still being accepted. Both monetary and food donations will be used to feed those in need this holiday season and beyond.
Volunteers for the dinner are also needed, and can contact the Mission directly to sign up at 562-216-7614. Volunteers can help out for one day only, or become a regular volunteer as they are always welcome at the Mission. Interested individuals can visit, https://lbrm.org/ways-to-help/volunteer/.
By Alysia Burke