“We’re volunteer-driven and last year we had to limit the number of volunteers participating in sorting and packaging due to COVID,” said Woehrle, about the food and toy donations, which will be distributed by volunteers working out of OB Masonic Lodge at 1711 Sunset Cliffs Blvd. on Saturday, Dec. 18.
“We’re going to be back to normal, with vaccinations we were able to bring a lot more people back,” said Reid about the charity community drive culminating Dec. 18 with the participation of as many as 60 community volunteers at the lodge.
“We still need volunteers to deliver presents and food that they will load up in their cars,” added Reid of the annual food and toy drive sponsored by Ocean Beach Town Council, which works with local churches, schools, and the YMCA to identify needy area families.
“We don’t do any screening,” Reid said of the recipient selection process. “We just go and serve those folks.”
Reid added some recipients living out of their vehicles “come to us and pick things up” adding, “It is a very emotional hand-off. Unfortunately, we see some of the same families year after year.”
Woehrle praised the community involvement in the drive that she characterized as a “joyful scene” at the Masonic Lodge. “We get involvement and contributions from a lot of different organizations,” she said noting recipients are generally in 92107 and 92106 ZIP codes.
Delivery day for the care packages is Dec. 18 and begins in the morning with volunteers loading up cars with goods. Woehrle said it’s a labor of love. “Some people bring their kids and everyone sort of gets involved,” she said adding, “Some people make multiple deliveries. It’s great fun.”
Of their efforts, Reid noted: “This is a great way to engage a lot of people, many of whom don’t walk down Newport. Some people just don’t know it’s (food and toy drive) there. People need to be reminded. It’s great to work with the churches and schools who know those families that are a little bit less fortunate.”
Woehrle said the annual food and toy drive is a fulfilling experience for volunteers.
“It’s so rewarding, which is what drives me to want to participate,” she said. “This is my fourth food and toy drive. We hope to improve every year, effectively broaden our reach to more families and seniors. We just love doing it.”
New unwrapped toys can be donated at these designated toy donation stations:
• Pruett Realty (1845 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.)
• Diane Sullivan Realty (1021 Rosecrans St.)
• Newbreak Church (2069 Ebers St.)
• Water’s Edge Faith Community (1984 Sunset Cliffs Blvd.)
• Mysterious Galaxy Bookstore (3555 Rosecrans St. Suite 107)
• Ocean Beach Business Center (4876 Santa Monica Ave.)
• Matt Kalla Insurance (4148 Voltaire St.)