OAKLAND PARK — Paradise Childcare Corp. partnered with Toys for Tots last week to host a day-long party. During the event, 1,800 toys were distributed to children whose parents are unemployed.
The toys, distributed on Dec. 19 by parents, members of Volunteer Broward and other volunteers, were geared toward children up to age 15.
Paradise Childcare offers day care services for adults seeking employment assistance through Workforce One. The two organizations share the building at 2610 W. Oakland Park Blvd. in Oakland Park.
This is Paradise Childcare’s second year hosting the event.
As many as 1,800 children were signed up in advance to receive toys, according to D’Wayne Spence, the company’s president and CEO. But less than one week before the event, Toys for Tots told the company that only 500 toys would be made available for distribution.
“They usually make their approval, which is based on the number of children served the previous year, before the actual donation,” Spence said. “But the projected donations [to Toys for Tots] came nowhere near what they were last year. Practically everyone’s distribution amount, not just ours, was cut to about 25 percent.”
Last year, Paradise only distributed toys to the 30 children attending the facility, Spence added.
Toys for Tots’ mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute them as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community.
When Bradford Cohen, a Fort Lauderdale attorney and event volunteer, heard that Paradise Childcare was short by several hundred toys, he rallied members of his firm to donate and meet the shortfall.
“When I found out, I was more then happy to provide the funding to acquire the needed toys,” said Cohen, who briefly appeared on the TV series The Apprentice with Donald Trump. “Today, we went back to Wal-Mart and purchased hundreds more toys to ensure that no child went without.”
State Rep. Hazelle Rogers said that “Oakland Park is one of my cities and when a community is in need, I come out and show support. If you are not working, you can’t give a gift; this is about helping put a smile on a child’s face.”
Angela Moore, 34, is a single mother of five. Unemployed, she receives assistance for her college tuition through one of the Workforce One programs.
“This is really a help,” the Fort Lauderdale resident said of the toys she received for her three youngest children. “Times are just hard and I wanted to have something under the tree for my babies.”
For more information about Paradise Childcare Corp., call 954-677-5685 or visit www.paradisechildcare.org.
Photo by Catherine Minnis. Cassandra, left, a single mother of two, looks on as her children, Joi, 4, and Jordan, 6, each receive a toy at Paradise Childcare Corp.’s toy giveaway in Oakland Park on Dec. 19. Cassandra plans to relocate to Tampa because of the high cost of living here. She currently works at Sheridan Health Care.