SAN FRANCISCO – About 3,000 excited boys and girls anxiously waited in a long line with their parents as all of them would eventually receive a free bag of toys from an army of volunteers at a local church.
Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco handed out nearly 10,000 new, donated toys to families in need.
“We have been doing this toy giveaway for over 30 years,” said Glide Co-Founder Janice Mirikitani. “We’ve been giving out free bags of groceries for almost 40 years. We’ve been doing these giveaways because we feel that during this holiday season people need to feel [that] somebody cares about them.”
All the children went home with a bag full of toys and they got to choose the kind of toys they wanted.
“You have volunteers behind the tables pointing out the different kind of toys that are available and then you have like a personal shopper that’s helping the kids select the toys of their choice,” said Fil-Am Glide staff member Dori Caminong. “One thing we really believe here at Glide is giving people choices and really asking the community to rally together and make sure we can bring unconditional love and acceptance this holiday season.”
The diversity of the families in line for the toy drive reflected how San Francisco is home to a wide variety of people, including Filipinos, who may be struggling this holiday season.
“I think there is a large history of Filipinos here in the Tenderloin,” said Caminong. “We serve a very large immigrant population that lives here in San Francisco so we have a lot of diversity from Asian and Latino communities that come here and need a little bit of help getting some gifts for their children and it helps alleviate some of the expenses of the household so there can really be an amazing Christmas celebration.”
In its 22nd annual Christmas Eve luncheon, Glide will once again be serving the community by partnering with a local steak house to serve over 2,000 pounds of prime rib to feed the less fortunate.
You can contact Rommel Conclara at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @rommelconclara for more information.