Plea goes out for toys for homeless children

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A plea went out Friday afternoon from Union Station Homeless Services in Pasadena  for donations of new, unwrapped toys for the annual Christmas Day Dinner-in-the-Park.

Approximately 1,200 children whose families are either homeless or very low-income attend the event each year, according to Lauren Arant, assistant director of development for Union Station, and each child looks forward to receiving at least one toy from Santa.

She said Santa “and his brother” hand out gifts that have been sorted by volunteers for gender- and age-appropriateness.

Unless there is a last-minute flurry of donations, some of the children may go away empty-handed, Arant said, because the donor who has in the past provided 1,000 to 2,000 toys for the event had to scale back that donation this Christmas to 500 toys.

Arant said the precarious financial situation for many of the families who attend Dinner-in-the-Park means their children may receive just one gift at home, if that. The special event in the Pasadena’s Central Park gives the families a chance to brighten their holiday.

“They bring their kids out to our dinner, where it’s happy and festive,” Arant said. “Everybody’s there to have a great time.”

To make a donation, take a new, unwrapped toy to the Union Station Adult Center, 412 S. Raymond Ave., Pasadena. Office hours are 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday next week, and Arant asks that toy donations arrive by Wednesday, Dec. 23, so volunteers will have time to sort them before Christmas Day.

Arant said the agency is grateful for the generosity of its supporters. “We’re just asking for a little extra help this year.”

To learn more, call Arant at (626) 240-4559.

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Written by Carol Cormaci

December 18, 2009 at 3:32 pm

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