The Theodore Korony American Legion Post 253 is certainly in the holiday spirit.
The veteran posts’ membership, including its auxiliary and its Sons of the American Legion unit, coordinated a toy drive that delivered more than 700 toys for needy borough kids.
They distributed the toys to eight charities that serve children and their families on Wednesday, December 16 and Thursday, December 17 from an operations hub in Throggs Neck.
Among the recipients were several organizations that operate homeless shelters and other charities.
The yearly effort, named the Joseph Mazzariello Memorial Toy Drive after a post commander who coordinated the initiative for years, only donates to organizations that distribute the toys within the borough, said Judy Lanci, of the Korony Auxiliary.
“The thing I love about the drive is there is zero overhead,” said Lanci. “Every dollar raised goes to buying toys.”
A group of volunteers from the ‘Korony post family’ solicits donations, purchases and picks up toys, sorts them by age group and charity and hands them over when the charities come and pick them up, said Lanci.
Members of the post give cash donations, as do other individuals and businesses, she said.
This year, the Throggs Neck Clipper at 3599 E. Tremont Avenue, collected several bags of toys during its holiday party and donated them to the drive, and First Lutheran Church of Throggs Neck took up a collection, said Lanci.
Participant Tony Ferrara, who has taken part in the drive for about 20 years, said that his goal is to one day expand.
“There are a whole lot of kids out there that get nothing or very little,” said Ferrara, adding “This is something we do because we want to give back and at least the kids who get nothing or very little will have something under the tree.”
The typical toy purchased during the drive costs between $5 and $8, and when more costly toys are donated, the post either finds a veteran’s family or donates them to an organization that will place the toy in a common area so that many children can enjoy it, explained Lanci.
She added that the group looks to make good use of every dollar.
Youngland Stores, located at 2922 Third Avenue, sells the post discounted toys, and has done so for years, said Ferrara. This proves to be a big help in the effort, he said.
A group that included Lanci, Ferrara, Dolores Stoltze, Lorraine Johnson and Gerry Ferrara was on hand, sorting toys on Wednesday, December 16 when members of Bronx Division 3 of the Ancient Order of Hibernians dropped off a donation for the ongoing, annual effort.
Joseph McManus, Division 3 president, and Dennis Gallagher, the division’s treasurer were on hand to present the toy drive with a donation that was sizably larger than the one the group gave last year.