Leading up to Christmas, different organizations across Newburgh held toy giveaways for children in need this year. Toys for Tots held its annual event at the Newburgh Armory Unity Center. Seraphim Equities partnered with Blacc Vanilla to serve students of the Newburgh Enlarged City School District who were in need and the Newburgh-based store Office Vault gave away up to two toys per child while supplies lasted.
Each event was held on the Tuesday before Christmas, in an effort to ensure every child who was in need of a gift got one.
The Toys for Tots event was a huge success. They received hundreds of donations, topping what they gathered last year. Resorts World Catskills donated $10,000, which had a huge part in the amount of toys they were able to purchase.
Sergeant Matthews ran the event with the rest of the Marines, where they served over 800 families throughout the day-long event. They had volunteers help them including those from the Air Force JROTC and other community members.
“We had to shut down applications,” said Matthews regarding the influx of interest this year. “We didn’t have the time to review and approve all of them online. We had to do walk-ups. We weren’t expecting such a rush of people coming out.”
The event ran similar to the armory’s weekly food distribution, which allows people to pull up in their cars while volunteers bring them the items.
“The Armory needs to be acknowledged,” said Matthews. “Without them, we wouldn’t be able to do this.”
On lower Broadway, real estate group Seraphim Equities, along with their non-profit Share4Kids, partnered with the Newburgh school district and Blacc Vanilla cafe to hold a christmas giveaway event for students in need to pick up a holiday bag filled with a Butterball gift check, hats and gloves. They had a special light show, donuts and hot drinks for those who came by.
“We’re pretty new here,” said Megan Prives who is in charge of marketing and awareness at Seraphim Equities. “We have a lot of exciting events going on and plans for the future.”
She said they are taking a “community first approach” being a real estate company in Newburgh and that they want to show they are here for the community.
“What we’re doing is investing in Newburgh itself and the people that are here,” said Prives.
Pamela Peterson, Director of Family and Community Engagement at the Newburgh Enlarged City School District, helped identify 100 scholars who needed extra support during the holidays this year.
“We have a number of scholars that have high needs in the district,” said Peterson. “We were asked to identify those scholars to be able to support them during the holidays. Superintendent [Roberto] Padilla has a philosophy that we are family – we’re all together. Our manta for this year is ‘shoulder up.’ So that’s what we’re doing.”
Towards the upper end of Broadway, the Office Vault held a toy giveaway for anyone in need. Community members could walk in and choose up to two toys per child. The event was put on by owners of the store, Ty and Tyra Melvin.
“We’ve had a lot of kids of different ages,” said the Melvins. “It’s been wonderful.”
They saw community members share their experiences of how hard the COVID-19 pandemic has affected them and how the toy giveaway helped ensure they could gift their children this year.