The Season of Giving has gone ‘wild’ in the Bronx.
On the morning of Friday, November 21, Deputy Borough President Aurelia Greene along with officials from the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo and students from P.S. 205 converged on Zoo Center to mark the start of Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s holiday toy drive.
A partnership between the Bronx Zoo and the borough president, this drive has become an annual tradition benefitting military families. Keeping with the seasonal spirit of giving, these students donated the very first toys of the new year.
“We’re striving to raise toys for needy families and children to give them some sense of being and hope for the future,” revealed Greene. “These children love it and they feel like they’re giving something to someone else and that’s very important. We have to be able to show the love and caring for others who don’t have it in their lives.”
“The Bronx Zoo is one of these incredible places in the city and an integral part of the Bronx and one of the most important things we feel is that we have to give back,” expressed Calvelli.
“This whole experience here is about teaching, educating, and learning about our natural world while making sure they realize they’re part of a larger community here in New York. Every year we’ve had more than enough toys thanks to the generosity of people throughout the city.
“We have incredibly giving people who realize by supporting programs like this, they’re helping to make the lives of young people so much brighter and more importantly, the children of the military.”
“This is important because children need to understand there are those less fortunate and it’s at this time of year that they can share with them,” explained Deborah Freidlich, fifth grade teacher at P.S. 205.
The students eagerly expressed their excitement.
“I feel happy to be here because we’re giving toys to little kids so they can have time to play and have some fun,” said Gary Mendez, 10.
“It feels really exciting because we’re donating toys to people who can’t afford them and it feels really good to do something for the community,” opined Takira Ramirez, 10.
“It was great because we donated toys to kids who can’t afford them and it’s very important for me because other kids get to play with toys for the holiday and some don’t and we’re donating toys to them,” said Lynlee Alvarez, 10.
The zoo will serve as a collection area for new, unwrapped toys which will be collected until the end of December. Donations can be delivered to the park entrance with no admission required or inside the Bronx Zoo Store in specially designated collection bins.
The borough president’s office will distribute the toys to veterans, active-duty service members, and their families.
For those who contribute a qualifying donation of a new, unwrapped toy at any WCS’s wildlife park from Saturday, November 22 to Wednesday, December 31, they will receive a free ticket to either the Bronx Zoo or New York Aquarium, dependent upon location.
Toys collected at other WCS parks and at the New York Aquarium, Central Park Zoo, Prospect Park Zoo, and Queens Zoo will be donated to those communitys’ needy families.
The limit is four tickets per family, valid from Monday, January 1 through Tuesday, June 30. Visit, www.wcs.org/toydrive for further details.