Community toy drive looks to bring joy to homeless Bronx children this holiday season


You don’t need to look toward the North Pole for a dash of kindness and generosity this holiday season.

Local Bronx and Westchester businesses have organized an ongoing new and gently used toy drive to give children placed in one of three Help USA Morris Shelter locations throughout the borough something to smile about in 2020.

The toy drive was organized by Michael Poli and Tiffany Messagli of Pelham Bay Park tanning salon Electric Paradise, Christina and Gianna Safet of Conti’s Pastry Shoppe on Morris Park Avenue, Chris Daniello and DSNY, along with Dominic Ciccone’s Scarsdale-based Exquisite Tile.

This is the fifth consecutive year that Poli has run a holiday toy drive, which he found inspiration to do after the birth of his daughter five years ago.

During that time, Poli and others worked with the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) and the Ronald McDonald Foundation. Last year, Poli said that they raised over $8,500 in toys, gift cards and cash.

“I think we’re going to surpass that this year,” he added.

He projected that donations would exceed over $10,000 this holiday season, thanks greatly to loyal customers doing their part for such a powerful cause.

He also commended the partnering businesses for not allowing the craziness of 2020 to obstruct the mission at hand, saying, “we’re all extremely busy but committed to this and that’s something I am incredibly proud of.”

Donations for the toy drive will remain open until Sunday, Dec. 20. Submissions can be dropped off at each of the three participating businesses: Electric Paradise at 3221 Westchester Ave., Conti’s Pastry Shoppe at 786 Morris Park Ave., and Exquisite Tile of 402 Central Park Ave. in Westchester.

“There’s nothing better [than] to give back to those in need, especially in 2o20,” Poli said.

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