MCKINLEY PARK — The “12th Ward Toys for Kids” toy drive could use more donations to help meet what local leaders say is a growing demand.
“Last year and this year, we think it’s because of the economy, the donations have taken a lot longer to get what we need,” said Anabel Abarca, spokeswoman for Ald. George Cardenas (12th). “Let’s just say that our goal hasn’t been met yet. We want 5,000 toys. I can tell you we are not there yet. We know we’ll easily have 5,000 children there."
The event, now in its 11th year, offers low-income local kids a chance to pick up a toy and visit with Santa. It’s scheduled for 3-7 p.m. Dec. 20 at the McKinley Park field house, 2210 W. Pershing Road, and includes free hot cocoa and the Mexican drink atole.
It’s open to kids 11 years old and younger who live in Little Village, Brighton Park, McKinley Park and Back of the Yards.
Abarca said the office is leaning on the local business community for toy donations, which can be dropped off at the 12th Ward public service office, 3476 S. Archer Ave.
The donations will be accepted right up until the start of the event.
So far, businesses like Los Comales, El Milagro, Pan American Bank and Tulsa Power Service have stepped up with big donations, Abarca said, but there's room for many more.
“We need businesses to donate. We don’t want children to come that day and not have a toy. We know there are children for whom this might be their only toy,” she said.