Boxes at the Galilee Center in Mecca are all marked up with hundreds of toys ready to find a home on Christmas Day. The center is expecting more than a thousand children on their 8th annual toy giveaway, and each child will get 2 or 3 presents.
Lupe Torres is the office manager at the Galilee Center, who said the organization is still taking toy donations for families across the Coachella Valley.
“Most of them are low income, their parents work in the hospitality center or single parents like you mentioned, and they don’t have the funding to buy them bicycles or 2 or 3 toys to their entire family,” Torres said.
Organizers and volunteers have been planning this for months. Torres said she has noticed that more families come every year. However, the event is only a few days away, and they are still running low on toys.
“We started in September asking for donations and asking organizations to help us,” she said.
Augustine Casino stepped in to help their desert community. Brett Hunn is the assistant manager at Augustine Casino, and he said it was important for them to help collect toys and food.
“It’s our way to give back to the community,” Hunn said. “It’s our little part to help the Galilee Center, they are doing so much for the families around our area, so this can only add to the help. “
Augustine Casino already delivered some toys to the organization, so volunteers are sorting out toys to make sure they are ready for the big day.
“It’s gratifying to see the children’s smiley faces and to walk away with a smile on their face with all their toys,” Torres said. “A lot of them can’t even carry all their toys, people have to help them and moms have to help them.”
Torres recommends families to show up before 10 am because they will run out of toys. if you want to donate toys to this cause, the Galilee Center and Augustine Casino will be receiving gifts until Christmas Day.