Greenpoint Toys for Tots was started in December of 1990 at the Hollywood Inn. The Hollywood Inn was a local bar where Tommy was the D.J. This is where Tommy met Ginny Accardi. Tommy and Ginny worked together to throw a party to collect money and toys for needy children. The proceeds from this party were donated to The Bernard Finson Development Society. The donation was made through The Independent Bikers of Queens. The party was small but it was a great success.
Toys for Tots soon out grew its venue. In 1991 the party was moved to the George Washington Post. The party was held here through 1993. In those three years the party as well as the staff continued to grow.
Two people who will always be remembered are Karen Kennedy and Joe Strickland. Karen was instrumental in the formation of Toys for Tots and Joe was always ready to lend a helping hand in spite of his heart condition. Unfortunately both were lost in two separate tragic circumstances. To this day the party is dedicated to their memory.
In 1993, the Greenpoint Lions became a cosponsor of Toys for Tots. A committee was formed to help run the party because it had become so big. Seeing that the crowd grew each year the party was moved to St. Stans Post.
In 1997 the party was so large that it had to be moved once again. This time to the Polish National Hall where it held to this day.
Seeing a need for the families and youth in Greenpoint, Toys for Tots teamed up with St. Vincents de Paul Society to distribute toys and food to families of Greenpoint that are in need.
When Toys for Tots began no one would believe it would grow to be what it is today. In the last nine years close to $60,000 was raised to buy food, toys, and clothing in addition to all the other donations of food and clothing that are collected. Toys for Tots is not only there at Christmas time.
Each Thanksgiving and Easter Toys for Tots helps to buy food to feed over 350 families.
At Christmas Toys for Tots buys toys and gifts for over 300 children who would probably have no Christmas. In the winter Toys for Tots buys coats to help keep children warm. In the summer Toys for Tots helps to send children to summer camp. In 1998 with the help of the Pit Stop Bar Toys for Tots took 40 children to Great Adventure.
Through the Lions Sight First program Toys for Tots helps children see by buying them eyeglasses. Each year Toys for Tots helps to support the Boy Scouts.
In 1993 the Karen Kennedy service award was started. This award gives a $100 savings bond to 8th grade students who make a difference in the community by helping others.
All of this could not be possible without the support of the Greenpoint community.
*The above is courtesy of Toys for Tots & mygreenpoint.com