By Carlotta Mohamed
The Flushing Business Improvement District helped spread holiday joy and cheer Friday delivering around 400 toys to children in need from the community at its 2018 Toy Drive.
On Dec. 14, Children’s faces were lit with excitement as they entered the room filled with toys at the Sheraton LaGuardia East Hotel at 135-20 39th Ave.
City Councilman Peter Koo and a representative from state Sen. Toby Ann Stavisky’s office were joined by representatives from the Flushing BID Toy Drive: Macy’s, Kent’s Realty, Cooper Hotel Investors, Golden Eagle Senior Center (Vivian), Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America, Flushing Wedding and Gerard Harrington Design.
This is the Flushing BID’s second annual toy drive giving back to the community according to Dian Yu, executive director of the Flushing BID.
“We think this is a great gift because the Flushing BID serves as the bridge between the businesses and city agencies. We are also the bridge between the local community as well because we not only serve the businesses, the property owners, we also serve the residents,” said Yu. “This is a great opportunity for us to connect with the community.”
Last year, the Flushing BID delivered more than 290 gifts in their first toy drive. The organization is looking to expand on donations next year, said Yu.
“What we do believe is that when we pick a gift, we’re not just buying gifts. We always ask their age, gender, so we can buy the gifts,” said Yu. “My staff works hard on every gift. They want to make sure it’s educational.”
The Flushing BID also works with the NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital to deliver toys to children who are sick.
“Every kid is special and when they get a gift, they’ll feel unique and know they’re treated with love,” said Yu, whose board members began collecting toys two months ago.
“All the money that we raise is from the Flushing BID board members,” Yu added. “That allows us to do the right thing. I enjoyed doing it because to see all those kids with the smiles on their face is just worth it.”
This year, the Flushing BID is working with local organizations such as the Charles B. Wang Community Health Center; Chinese Christian Herald Crusades; MLK Day Care Center; CPC Queens Early Childhood Center; James A. Bland Resident Association; Garden of Hope; and NewYork-Presbyterian Queens Hospital.
Dennis Chuang, a board member of the Taiwanese Chambers of Commerce of North America and Flushing BID sponsor of the event, said it helps them to better celebrate the holiday season.
“Back then I think there weren’t many non-profit organizations such as the Flushing BID that really kind of advocated and championed … and be kind of the liaison with the various city local agencies, and also the business vendors to help the community grow,” said Chuang. “I think Flushing BID beyond the toy drive that was brought today brought a lot of smiles to a lot of families.”
Isiah Mui, a clinical supervisor at The Child Center of New York, said their children have benefited a great deal from the Flushing BID.
“It’s very meaningful. Last year we were here for their toy drive and they donated a lot of gifts. We serve a lot of children who are in impoverished low-income areas, and it’s instrumental in bringing joy to the holidays,” said Mui. “I think what they’re doing for the community is great.”