When I was six years old, my friend was diagnosed with brain cancer. I used to enjoy making “get well cards” and presents for her, and bringing them to her house. I knew it wouldn’t take her cancer away, but it was what I could do to make her smile, if only for a moment!
My family has always taught me to remember those less fortunate. Although I had already started a toy drive, in 2005 I wanted it to be different. I wanted Erika to deliver gifts with me, and she was so excited to help! Unfortunately, Erika passed away before our deliveries began. I knew at this time that I needed to continue with this toy drive in her memory; I wanted to continue to help others smile, just as Erika always made me smile!
Initially, my toy drive consisted solely of collecting toys to bring to children at 6 local hospitals. As time has gone on, I have expanded my drive for all children that are “less fortunate”. In addition to my hospital deliveries, I now hold two holiday parties for 6 homeless shelters, and distribute toys to an additional 9 shelters, and the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families each Christmas season.
I believe I have accomplished SO much in the past 7 years! This being said, I could never have done it alone. With the help of family, friends, the Crisafulli, Robinson, and Nabnasset Schools, and our community, “For the Love of Erika” has touched the lives of over 6,100 children and families over the past 7 years.
As we kick off our 2012 holiday toy drive, I ask that you consider the thousands of children in need of smiles this holiday season. Please consider making a tax deductible donation to “For the Love of Erika”. Each dollar goes directly toward toys for disadvantaged children in Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire. My family and I personally deliver each and every gift, so we know that each gift goes into the proper hands! We thank you for your consideration and wish you a wonderful holiday season.
Donations can be made to: “For the Love of Erika/CITC”, c/o Taylor Leong, 3 Cutter Lane, Westford MA 01886. Gifts can also be dropped off at 3 Cutter Lane, Westford. For further information, please email firstname.lastname@example.org