The spirit of giving is alive in Morris Park.
The Morris Park Community Association hosted their second annual toy drive this December.
The community group, with the help of the local Citibank branch and Foxy Families Inc., collected more than 75 toys to donate to students at a special needs preschool in Belmont.
Last year, the MPCA donated toys to the Philippine Association in the wake of the tsunami, said Tony Signorile, president of the group.
This year, when they thought about who they wanted to bring some Christmas joy to, they decided to bring extra cheer to children with special needs.
This year’s beneficiary was the Harry H. Gordon School, which offers full day preschool for 2 to 5-year-olds with various learning challenges including speech delays and autism.
Signorile said the MPCA wanted to support local students with special needs, as well as recognize the school’s staff, who Signorile said have impressive skills and patience.
“I take my hat off to the principal and their teachers,” said Signorile.
When Signorile initially reached out about donating the toys, principal Karen Griffoul said the offer took her by surprise.
“It’s very heartwarming,” said Griffoul. “We’re so appreciative.”
Griffoul stopped by the community association’s office on Wednesday, December 17, to pick up the toys.
That next Monday, Santa Claus flew in early to hand out the gifts to the kids.
Between the MPCA’s donations and toys from another group, Griffoul said there were enough toys for every single student.
“It’s nice to be able to give all of our children something to open near Christmas,” she said.
Griffoul said her students loved receiving the presents from Santa, and that their reactions to the toys were adorable.
“It was so magical,” she said about the experience. “They were so excited.”