By Colin Kruse
The Toys-for-Tots gift drive collected toys that were delivered to children ages five to seven whose families might not be able to afford any gifts this holiday season in both Los Angeles and Tijuana. Social Science teacher Mr. Lalo Diaz, who led the toy drive at Loyola, said, “This drive is designed to bring a smile to the children of our immediate community along with those south of the border.”
Since its founding in 1947 by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Toys-for-Tots, a non-profit charity foundation, has collected several millions of toys in donations from across the country.
Mr. Diaz has conducted Loyola’s on-campus collection for 29 years and said that his inspiration to organize the drive comes from his experiences as a child. “Many of my neighbor families suffered difficult times; offering gifts to their loved ones became impossible,” Mr. Diaz said.
The Loyola community has supported the toy drive with donations of unwrapped toys, including basketball and Barbie playsets, according to Mr. Diaz. “In recognition of all the many blessings we enjoy as a school community, we attempt to brighten the lives of children during the Christmas season and to keep alive the great relationship we enjoy with our surrounding neighborhoods. This drive places our ‘Man-for-Others’ tradition in action,” Mr. Diaz said.
After the toys were collected, they were delivered to elementary schools in the Los Angeles area including Ford Elementary School, Magnolia Elementary School, St. Thomas School and Our Lady of Talpa School.
Sophomore Brandon Cobian, who is an alumnus of Our Lady of Talpa School, said that he was happy to help out with the drive. “The Toys-for-Tots drive really helps out the students of my community, and I am thrilled to make Christmas better for these kids.”
The remaining toys from the Toys-for-Tots drive not given to the local schools were given to an orphanage in Tijuana, Baja California; these toys will be delivered by Loyola security guard Mr. Eddie Rivera and his wife over the Christmas holiday break.
The toy donation drive concluded on Dec. 17. Dr. Diaz said, “Any toy is indeed the perfect toy.”