As the holidays approach, many people are motivated to do something good for others. A decade ago, Sophie Diaz was inspired to reach out to friends and family and do something special for children in need.
That is how the Wellington United Sisterhood came together in support of a local organization dedicated to serving uprooted children in Palm Beach County by collecting and donating toys.
“I started this event 10 years ago,” Diaz recalled. “I gathered some of my friends and acquaintances in the month of December to donate toys for the less fortunate. I then planned a luncheon at Kontiki, got a DJ, and we have lunch, dance and donate. Then I had to figure out who would deliver the toys.”
Diaz and her friends decided that the children would enjoy seeing a fire truck come directly to make a personal toy delivery. They partnered with Palm Beach County Fire-Rescue, which delivers the toys by truck to children at the Guatemalan-Maya Center in Lake Worth.
“Some people donate big items like bikes, but even the small items are great. The children are ecstatic, as some of them do not get toys for Christmas,” Diaz said. “Since 2009, we have kept this tradition going. My goal would be to collect more than 100 toys this year.”
The group currently has two collection sites, but it is open to expanding and adding sites at other businesses interested in participating. Donation boxes are posted at the Edmund James Salon & Spa (12020 South Shore Blvd., Suite 30, Wellington) and the French Corner Bistro (4595 Okeechobee Blvd., Suite D-129, West Palm Beach). Toys are accepted during normal business hours.
Diaz invites people to drop off a new, unwrapped toy at these locations, but also invites those who want to join the sisterhood at their annual celebration on Sunday, Dec. 8 from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Kontiki Wine & Raw Bar, located at 13860 Wellington Trace in the Courtyard Shops.
“We accept new, unwrapped toys for all ages, but I want to remind people not to forget the teens. Kids who are 12 to 15 years of age have nothing and are often forgotten,” Diaz said. “I know it is easier to give for the little ones, but we want to help all the children in need at the center.”
For more information about the lunch at Kontiki, or to learn more about becoming a toy drive donation site, e-mail Diaz at firstname.lastname@example.org. Diaz can also share information about the Wellington United Sisterhood for those interested in joining the ladies’ group.