WANI is again taking out toys to children living on Motel drive for our 4th Annual Toys and Joys for Girls and Boys!
December 23 is the day Santa delivers toys throughout the Motels on Motel Drive. We drive from location to location and spend about 30 min or so gift giving, taking pics with Santa, and serving hot chocolate and pastries. After the delivery on Motel drive, if we have enough toys we will drive to an apartment complex and bless the children there. This is what makes the day so long, but well worth it!
Donation Drop Off Locations:
St. James Church, 4147 East Dakota, Fresno, Mon.-Fri. from 9:30am-1:30pm, 559-439-5011
The Big Red Church (First Congregational Church), 2131 Van Ness Avenue, Fresno, Mon.-Fri. from 9:00am-3:00p.m., and Sun. 11:30am-1:30p.m.
Rio Mesa Insurance, 3134 Willow Street, Suite #102, Clovis, 9:00am-3:00pm
Regency Properties, 331 West Shields Ave, Fresno, 9:00am-3:30pm
Gift Wrapping Parties
Wrapping parties are December 14 and 20. We wrap all the gifts and organize them in gender and age groups, while drinking hot chocolate and cider with delicious desserts.
If you are interested in helping deliver toys to homes also please let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
Donations can also be made for the purchase of toys here:
We Are Not Invisible launched our annual Toys and Joy for Girls and Boys drive to take toys to homeless children along Motel Drive because these children often are not included in other toys drives, due to their parents inability to participate in the other programs.
During our other outreach efforts, I’d see the amount of children living in motels and in the streets, and I was shocked to find out that they were not receiving gifts for the holidays, This is who I thought would receive the gifts that I donated to organizations that held toy drives. I called around to many churches and organizations and asked if any go out into the community to deliver gifts. I found out that they were more than happy to add the children to the list to receive a gift but they did not deliver gifts. I knew myself that these families were homeless and living in motels. They did not have transportation to go to churches or other toy outreach locations and definitely did not have enough bus money to go to and from any toy donations spots.”
Toy drives often exclude children of certain ages, as the cut off age is usually 14, leaving out those who are 15-17.
This inspired the Toys and Joys For Girls and Boys toy drive and outreach.
I was really shocked about this, but instead of being sad, I decided that, instead of donating the gifts elsewhere, I could go deliver them myself. So, I called a couple of friends with friends and set up a day to drive from motel to motel and deliver Christmas gifts to all the children and teens. I had a “Santa” volunteer (kids love Santa) and I had a couple of local motorcycle clubs volunteer to ride their bikes along with us (kids love motorcycles). So, with Santa, motorcycles, and gifts, the kids had a very happy, blessed day to remember.
We also had some of the community reach out and join us in our holiday toy caravan to deliver food and clothing. This is what community holiday spirit is about to me. It was a beautiful sight to see the amount of people from many different areas of Fresno come together for our forgotten community.
Since then, we have continued to spearhead the effort annually, connecting with families we see throughout the year.
We encourage you to donate to the age groups often overlooked: children up to three and teenagers. When people donate, it’s usually for children ages four through twelve. I’m often asked why we include the older teens. I say “why not?” These teens are homeless. Also, they have a huge responsibility on them. They help cook, clean, and raise their siblings, too. They deserve to be appreciated in every way. They are also our future.