All Bob Jean wants is to put a smile on a kid’s face this Christmas.
The owner of Anthony’s Flower Farm at 3240 East Tremont Ave., is putting his philanthropic skills to work once again by setting up a toys for tots drive with help from several Bronx organizations.
The Throggs Neck merchant will donate a slew of toys to children at the New York Institute for Special Education on Pelham Parkway on Dec. 18 and to kids at Community School District 12 at 1434 Longfellow Ave. on Dec. 20.
Jean said he especially needs toys geared towards stimulating a child’s learning ability.
“Any learning material, we’ll wrap up and send to the schools,” said Jean.
Donated stuffed animals, for instance, will be sent to the New York Institute for Special Education with the goal of improving a visually impaired child’s four remaining senses. He’s asking the general public to donate a toy they feel can achieve that goal.
Around the Bronx, merchants have pitched in to serve as toy drop-off locations. Anthony’s Flower Farm, Fine Fare at 3580 E. Tremont Ave., Orthopedist Dr. Albert Graziosa’s office at 3611 E. Tremont Ave. and Metro Optics at 25 Westchester Square have large drop-off bins.
The law office of Stephen Kaufman at 2916 Bruckner Blvd. is another drop-off center, with Kaufman and wife Gerry more than willing to help. Jean said he is also working on getting sports chain Modells to donate toys.
For Jean, extending a helping hand has always been a no-brainer. “Why wouldn’t someone want to help?” asked Jean, who grew up poor before making it as a Bronx florist.
“I didn’t have anything when I was a kid,” said Jean. “I see how people are struggling, and I have what I have, and it’s a chance to give back. I have to see that’s a driving force – it’s a driving force to bring smiles to kids faces.
Last week, he and co-chairs Lilyanna Pekic and Alexia Acevedo toured the CSD 12 school bordering Foxhurst/Claremont, catering to autistic children. He knew he wanted to help.
“When you see them, you know why,” noted Jean.
His annual toy drive has mushroomed, thanks to several local organizations, among them the nonprofit Son’s of Italy, which forwards money donations to The Smile’s Foundation.
Jean said that last year, his group collected 2,000 toys for Montefiore Hospital, Jacobi Hospital, These Our Treasures daycare center, and The Elements Church.
To donate a toy you can stop by the stores listed or call Anthony’s Flower Farm at (718) 597-1117.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383