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Bronx SceneBronx Zoo conducts toy, coat drive

While the animals at the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo have coats to keep them warm and toys to keep them happy, many New Yorkers are not quite so lucky.

This year, the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo is participating in the Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.’s annual toy drive as well as the New York Cares Coat Drive. Through a partnership with both programs, WCS’s Bronx Zoo will be helping New Yorkers in need to stay warm and make sure families have holiday gifts for their children.

“The Wildlife Conservation Society is thrilled to have the opportunity to work with the Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., the Bronx Chamber of Commerce, and New York Cares to give back to the community that has supported our institution for more than 110 years,” said John Calvelli, WCS executive vice president of Public Affairs. “Both are truly worthy causes and we are proud to have a hand in making the holidays more enjoyable for families in need of a helping hand.

Through the month of December, WCS’s Bronx Zoo is partnering with Bronx Borough President and the Bronx Chamber of Commerce to collect toys for underprivileged children. Visitors to the zoo can bring their unwrapped toys to the drop-off point in the Zoo Center building for distribution by the Borough President’s office.

“We all can make a difference in the lives of many children by sharing the true meaning of love and kindness during this special time of year. Let’s all donate a toy to remind our neediest families that their community cares and suppors them,” said Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr.

“The Bronx Chamber of Commerce is happy to participate in the Bronx Borough President’s toy drive. The Chamber and its members are committed to the children of the borough especially during the holiday season. We anticipate this year’s toy drive will be the biggest ever due to the generous support and enthusiasm of our donors. It is quite heartwarming to help these children enjoy the holidays,” said Lenny Caro, president and CEO.

Also, though the entire month of December, WCS’s Bronx Zoo will be one of New York City’s largest cultural institutions collecting costs for the New York Cares Coat Drive. Last year New York Cares collected 13,000 coats for the Bronx which were distributed to 67 agencies across the borough.

Visitors to the zoo can bring new and/or gently used coats for women, men, children, and infants to the drop-off point in the Zoo Center building for distribution to people in need citywide by New York Cares.

As a thank you to all who donate a toy or coat while visiting the zoo, the Wildlife Conservation Society will give each donor a free admission ticket for their next visit to the zoo.

*Free ticket offer limited to four free tickets per family. Tickets are valid from January 1 through December 31, 2010.

New York Cares is New York City’s largest volunteer organization. Founded in 1987, New York Cares runs volunteer programs at 1,000 nonprofits, public schools, and city agencies to help meet the critical needs of people living in poverty. The New York Cares Coat Drive, presented by Health Plus, takes place from December 1 – 31 each year and has collected and distributed more than 1.3 million coats for New Yorkers in need since 1989. New York Cares hopes to collect 70-80,000 coats during December. For more information, please visit www.newyorkcares.org.

The Bronx Zoo, a Wildlife Conservation Society park, is open daily from 10:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., and will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day, and Martin Luther King Day. Adult admission is $15, children (3-12 years old) $11, children under 3 are free, seniors (65+) are $13. Parking is $12 for cars and $16 for buses. WCS’s Bronx Zoo is conveniently located off the Bronx River Parkway at Exit 6; by train via the #2 or #5 or by bus via the #9, #12, #19, #22, MetroNorth, or BxM11 Express Bus service (from Manhattan that stops just outside the gate.) To plan your trip, visit www.bronxzoo.com or call (718) 367-1010.

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