I have never loved Pittsburgh more. Today, and really all weekend – I’ve seen the best of what Pittsburgh has to offer. And, I didn’t even have time to watch the Steeler game.
Less than 60 hours ago – I put out a call for help on Facebook. And Pittsburgh – you have stepped up in ways I could have never imagined. I had no idea what I was getting into. We aren’t done yet – but I want to tell you what the volunteers accomplished today.
First of all – THANK YOU to everyone who has donated, volunteered and spread the word. You have made it possible to literally move mountains of toys.
On Saturday at Noon – I spoke with the woman from the East Hills Residents Community Council. They had basically canceled the holiday party because they had nothing to distribute. We immediately went to work and moved a truck load of toys from West Virginia into their community center yesterday. On Saturday night, we put out a call for volunteers – and strangers responded. I arrived at the East Hills Community Center at noon today – and volunteers – people I have never met, but who had read about the need on Facebook had already begun to sort and inventory.
It took 14 hours, multiple trips to the store, two deliveries of pizza and at least 30 volunteers but I am pleased to report we have completely filled the need in East Hills! Here is what was done today…
- Prepared toy packages for 275 families – over 575 kids
- Prepared stocking for all of the kids
- Prepared gifts for 30 more kids who are part of the Martial Arts Against Street Violence program
The volunteers who showed up at 11 am – stayed until 1am – that is 14 hours of non-stop work. And these were volunteers from all over the city AND a whole crew of volunteers from the Residents Council who started at 9am.
This was made possible by you – the generous people of Pittsburgh.
There is still more work to be done. We found out Sunday morning that there are 500 kids on the North Side who need gifts. I know that we had a whole crew working on this over at Most Wanted Fine Art but we WILL NEED MORE HELP on Monday!!!
Please see the latest posts in the Emergency Toy Drive Facebook Group. We will definitely need more toy donations. So keep those coming.
If you are buying toys to donate:
- craft kits are great
- games are great because they are good items to share with families – I’m pretty sure we bought every Jenga near East Hills.
- don’t buy toys that require batteries
- don’t wrap the toys before you donate them
If you know of someone who would be willing to donate food or pizza for their holiday party on Tuesday – that would be a welcome addition and I can help to coordinate. Please contact me firstname.lastname@example.org.
Here are a few photos from today:
A brief note about East Hills – this is a Pittsburgh neighborhood that is in need – and there is so much help that is needed there. I hope this is the beginning of a much larger relationship and I ask you to help me tell and share the stories of our fellow neighbors who are often not part of the larger Pittsburgh conversation. I can tell you right now that there are kids that need beds out there – and I’ve promised to follow up with the East Hills Residence Council about this in January – if you want to help (or if you have a bed you don’t need) – please let me know.
- Toys for Tots fails to deliver; local charities scramble (triblive.com)
- Toys for Tots tries to remedy charities’ toy shortfalls (post-gazette.com)
- Local organizations scrambling for toys (pghcitypaper.com)
- Businessman, Police Save Holiday For Local Kids After Toys For Tots Glitch (pittsburgh.cbslocal.com)