The Kiwanis Club of East Hampton is celebrating 30 years of its Toys for Tots initiative this holiday season.
Kiwanis member Lou Profera, who has been managing the collection for over 15 years, said Toys for Tots is the cornerstone project of the club when it comes to directly helping the children of East Hampton.
New, unwrapped toys were collected over the past weeks at Scoop Dujour, Village Hardware, the Springs General Store and other local stores while more toys were purchased with donations from organizations such as East Hampton Ocean Rescue, Montauk AARP, the East Hampton Fire Department and the East Hampton Rotary Club, Mr. Profera said.
“It’s a great thing,” he said. “The toys are going locally it’s benefiting our neighbors, coworkers and community. It’s truly a community project.”
On Monday, the East Hampton High School Key Club, an international student-led branch of Kiwanis, will begin to organize the collection in order to distribute gifts to local families on Tuesday, said Key Club advisor Meghan Cavanaugh.
This is the first year the group has directly hosted the organization and distribution process, she said. However, she said the club, made up of about 150 students grades 9 through 12, is eager to lend a hand.
“[We’re] one of the largest active keys clubs on Long Island,” said Ms. Cavanaugh. “We’re proud of that.”
In addition to collecting and distributing, Mr. Profera said Kiwanis has made an effort to stay in direct contact with representatives from East Hampton’s affordable housing communities, whose residents make up a majority of those families receiving toys.
He said a representative from Whalebone Village Apartments expressed that many single parents receiving the toys are relieved of a major financial burden.
The local collection stations will be accepting toys until Sunday, while Mr. Profera said monetary donations are also being accepted by the Kiwanis Club of East Hampton.
He said that the funds, even when they are left over year- to-year, are always allotted to Toys for Tots.