OMI Holiday Toy Drive & Giveaway To Serve Hundreds Of Families This Season

Gifts donated to the OMI Holiday Toy Giveaway. Photo courtesy of Youth First

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Community organizations are collecting new toys and books to be given to the neighborhood’s children in mid December at a holiday event.

Now in its tenth year, the OMI Holiday Toy Drive & Giveaway is led by Renard Monroe of Youth First, an academic enrichment program that operates out of the Merced Heights Playground clubhouse.

“We already have over 600 books here in my office,” Monroe told the Ingleside Light. “I’m running out of room.”

Youth First and its partners seek age-appropriate toys and books for all ages.

“For the older kids, we give out books and gift cards for the younger kids,” Monroe said. “We give out toys and books. We’re looking for brand new toys — nothing used — for ages five to 12 years old.”

The group collects about 200 toys and then purchases more based on need.

“Last year we served over 800 families,” Monroe said. “We’re probably going to serve a little bit more this year.”

On Dec. 16, the drive will end with a giveaway at Merced Heights Playground.

“We will have pictures with Santa Claus, music, free food and [Personal Protective Equipment] supplies,” Monroe said. “There’ll be vendors out here with community information. It’s a big celebration.”

Donations can be delivered Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Merced Heights Playground at 801 Shields St. or the I.T. Bookman Community Center at 446 Randolph St. 

The OMI Holiday Toy Drive & Giveaway is sponsored by OMI Neighbors In Action, OMI Community Collaborative, Mission YMCA, Our Kids First, San Francisco African American Early Childhood Educators, Southwest Community Corporation, Our Special Place, OMI Family Resource Center, Catholic Charities, Taraval Police Station, Guidry’s Early Care & Education Program, OMI Invest Black, Inner City Youth, OMI Job Center Catholic Charities, The Good Rural, Lacy’s Barbershop and OMI Cultural Participation Project.

Event Details

Date: Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021

Time: 2 to 6 p.m.

Location: Merced Heights Playground, 801 Shields St.

For more information, contact Renard Monroe at (415) 349-2015 or firstyouthlst@gmail.com.