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Spread Holiday Cheer By Supporting These Seasonal Toy And Coat Drives

Anastasia Lennon

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. and Kerrigan Country Realty are holding toy drives for Toys for Tots. (Photo: www.facebook.com)

There are many opportunities to give this holiday season. Across the East End, multiple organizations and individuals are using their platforms to collect toys for children and essentials for all ages.

Assemblyman Fred Thiele, Jr. of Sag Harbor is holding his third annual "Toys for Tots" drive. His office is accepting donations to support the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve toy drive program. Until Wednesday, December 13, one can drop off unwrapped toys between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. His office is located at 2302 Main Street, Suite A, in Bridgehampton.

"I am so proud to be a part of such a fine organization that helps make the holidays special for children who are less fortunate," stated Assemblyman Thiele. "I encourage residents to take part in the Toys for Tots program and drop off a new, unwrapped toy to my office. If everyone does their part, we can make this holiday season a magical one for children."

Toys for Tots, a not-for-profit public charity, was founded by U.S. Marine Corps' Major Bill Hendricks in 1947. The following year, the program was adopted by the USMC and expanded into a nationwide community project. Its mission is to collect "new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted."

Kerrigan Country Realty of Westhampton Beach is also sponsoring its third annual "Toys for Tots" drive. On Saturday, December 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Kerrigan Country will host a meet and greet with Santa, his elves, and a Marine. They ask that people bring an unwrapped toy to donate to children in need. They also will accept gift cards as donations for older children. The event will take place at 122 Main Street in Westhampton Beach. NOTE: This event has been postponed due to the impending snow storm.

Camp SoulGrow of Montauk is sponsoring a Hurricane Relief Holiday Toy Drive with the Clamshell Foundation. Until Saturday, December 9, the Camp SoulGrow studio in Montauk is collecting gifts that they will wrap and send to Puerto Rico.

"The toy drive for children in Puerto Rico started on November 9 and runs until December 9, which is the day of our Holiday Spectacular at the Camp SoulGrow studio," said Camp SoulGrow founder London Rosiere.

They have a 24-hour drop box, so toys can be donated at any time until Saturday, December 9. At the Holiday Spectacular, there will be a station devoted to wrapping and decorating the presents to be sent to Puerto Rico. "The Clamshell Foundation has all the wrapping papers and bows," noted Rosiere. "It's all creative and fun and free for all kids and families."

"There's so much you can give, not just to the kids here but to the kids elsewhere," added Rosiere. The Camp SoulGrow Studio is located at 7 the Plaza in Montauk.

In addition to toy drives, there is also a winter coat and accessories drive sponsored by Town & Country Real Estate. Until Friday, December 15, individuals can drop their donations off at any of Town & Country's seven offices located on the East End between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The coats, hats, and gloves should be new or gently used, and clean. They will be distributed to Maureen's Haven Homeless Outreach, John's Place Shelter, and United Veteran's House.

"We invite our community to be generous during the season of giving," reflected Judi Desiderio, Town & Country Real Estate CEO. "We are all so blessed to live and work here, and to raise our families here in the Hamptons and the North Fork. Not many people know that we have a population in need here on the East End. Our annual coat drive is the least we can do to raise awareness and help."

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