The Poverello House is on its way to meeting its Christmas toy donation goal of 5,000 presents.
By 3 p.m. Wednesday, the downtown Fresno homeless center estimated that last-minute donations over the last three days had pushed the toy count up to 4,500 – only 500 left to go.
“The community has definitely been responding, from individuals to different agencies in town,” said Stephanie Ortiz, communications manager.
On Monday, the Poverello House learned that it was short 1,500 toys for its annual Christmas giveaway. The agency provides community groups like churches with presents and hands out more than 3,000 wrapped toys, starting at 7 a.m. Christmas Day, to each child who walks through its doors. Then, lunch is served to an average of 800 people.
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Sounds like we’ll make it. Each kid will get two to three presents.
Stephanie Ortiz, of the Poverello House
Les Schwab Tire Center answered the agency’s plea for more donations. Catholic Charities of Fresno even sent some of its remaining gifts over. And Philanthropy Inspired by the Needs of our Community, or PINC, a Fresno nonprofit, bought $350 worth of toys – about 40 to 50 items – with cash it had left over from the year’s fundraising efforts.
PINC is not tied to a specific agency or type of organization, allowing it to be flexible when it comes to choosing who to help, said Delia Cholakian, PINC president. “We’ve got some extra funds we can turn around really quick,” she said.
At the homeless center, Disney Frozen activity books and kits, basketballs and soccer balls, kites and toy cars were pushed in carts to a warehouse where teams of volunteers worked in shifts to wrap the gifts. On the other side of the building, the wrapped presents were carefully piled in large cardboard boxes from floor to ceiling.
Donations will be accepted until 5 p.m. on Christmas Eve. Volunteers are no longer needed to wrap presents.
“Sounds like we’ll make it,” Ortiz said. “Each kid will get two to three presents.”
412 F St., Fresno