New Haven toy drive in desperate need of donations

A New Haven toy drive is in desperate need for donations (WFSB)

Along the shoreline, there’s an urgent plea for presents to keep a holiday tradition alive.

For years, New Haven's "Winter Wonderland" event has provided thousands of toys for youngsters in need.

On Wednesday, New Haven Public Works crews, had their work cut out for them counting toys, but with this Sunday’s Winter Wonderland just four days away, it isn’t nearly enough.

"We're way down with toys and donations at this point. We're under 1,000. I'm looking close to 4000, give or take, that could possibly be at the Winter Wonderland holiday event, so definitely in need of help,” said Honda Smith, the organizer of the Winter Wonderland event.

Smith works with the Department of Public Works, and started holding the annual party 20 years ago, with the goal of making sure a child didn’t go without a Christmas.

Last year at this time, the basement of the public works headquarters was filled with toys, but this year the room is empty.

"Every little bit that you give helps, no matter if it’s a donation or a toy, it’s just something that's going to make the kids happy, and our goal is to put a smile on every kid that comes to that Winter Wonderland,” said Mario Anes, of New Haven Department of Public works.

They're in need of toys for all ages and while Smith said she's scared she's going to run out of time, she says she has faith that New Haven and the surrounding communities will pitch in and pull through.

"It’s a passion for me because this is a story of my childhood. It was a priest, that gave me hope, he gave me what my wishes were, granted me a beautiful bicycle and he told us to pay it forward, so this is my way of paying it forward,” Smith said.

The event is on Saturday.

Anyone looking to help can bring money or toys to the Public Works department on Middletown Avenue or New Haven’s Youth Department located at City Hall.

You can also bring checks to the Webster Bank branch at 894 Whalley Ave.

Copyright 2017 WFSB (Meredith Corporation). All rights reserved.

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