A Throggs Neck veterans group is collecting toys and donations for a toy drive it has held for more than three decades.
The Theodore Korony American Legion Post #253, based in Throggs Neck, is currently soliciting donations of toys for its annual Joseph Mazzariello Memorial Toy Drive.
The drive, named after the U.S. Marine veteran who first began it, typically purchases or collects about 800 toys every year to distribute to local borough organizations servicing families in need, said drive co-coordinator Judy Lanci.
“We cover a wide range of different programs, but they are all (servicing) children in need in the Bronx,” said Lanci, adding that unlike some larger drives, this one is a grassroots effort.
People wishing to aid in the group’s drive can made a monetary donation or take up collections of toys costing between five and ten dollars at their businesses, she said.
Additionally, there is a collection box at the Throggs Neck Clipper at 3599 E. Tremont Avenue, said Lanci.
Among the expected recipients this year are Acacia Network homeless shelters, a program for children with developmental disabilities at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Claremont Neighborhood Centers, Concourse House Home for Women and Children and a family shelter on Morris Park Avenue in West Farms, she said.
“I was not even aware of how many shelters there are in the Bronx; it was just unbelievable,” said Lanci, adding that she has visited some and saw people just like herself, realizing how easy it can be for anyone to fall on tough times.
Most of the donations originate in Throggs Neck, a relatively fortunate community that has many working families, she said.
Lanci is working with three co-coordinators on the drive: Danielle Mazzariello-Fava, Anthony Ferrara, and Colleen McCarthy.
The memorial toy drive has solicited donations from all members of the Korony Post, and has also reached out to the leadership of other active American Legion posts in the county, said Lanci.
As has been the case in previous years, the drive will be receiving a monetary donation from Division 3 of the Bronx Ancient Order of Hibernians, confirmed division president Joe McManus.
McManus said that AOH first came across the drive because the president of the Bronx County AOH, Bob Nolan, is a relative of one of the Korony Post officers.
“We have a personal connection, but as a Catholic religious organization, to provide presents at Christmastime for children is right there in our wheelhouse,” said McManus.
For those wishing to collect toys at their workplace, those gifts can be dropped off on Tuesday, December 13 at 1 p.m. at 2873 Schurz Avenue, said Lanci.
Tax-deductible monetary donations can be made by check, payable to ‘The Theodore Korony American Legion Christmas Toy Drive.’
They are being accepted on an ongoing basis, and can be mailed to the post at P.O. Box 833, Bronx, NY 10465.
The toys will be distributed to the groups in need on the afternoon of December 13, said Lanci.