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Pelham Daily Voice
by Suzanne Samin
NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- County Legislator Jim Maisano is teaming up with the Westchester Marine Corps League, U.S. Marine Corps Reserves, New Rochelle and Pelham volunteers to give 1,000 toys to underprivileged children in Westchester this holiday season.
The Saturday, Dec. 14 Toys for Tots toy drive will be Maisano's 12th drive in District 11, which includes New Rochelle and Pelham. However, his involvement with the organization goes back farther than his time as legislator.
"As a kid, I used to go to the Toys for Tots drive which was, ironically, at the Armory. The Armory has been a big political issue for New Rochelle. Back then, it was The Marine Corps reserve station," he said.
Maisano later joined the Marine Corps. and continued his involvement with the charity organization.
"My marine background is a big part of my life. Since Toys for Tots is a nationally sponsored Marine Corps charity drive, it means a lot to me," he said.
Despite being affiliated with the organization through his military service, what truly calls him to participate is the mission.
"There are a lot of kids that come from a difficult financial situation that don't get any presents for Christmas. To be able to bring in close to 1,000 toys a year for these kids makes me feel like I did something very important for the holiday season," he said.
The drive collects new unwrapped toys, gift cards and checks to "Toys for Tots."
According to Maisano, the Westchester chapter of the Marine Corps league has taken the cause up by opening storage units, picking up toys all over Westchester, and sometimes deliver them straight to social service providers and different organizations.
"If not, they put them in storage until they find a place for them. Every toy goes out before Christmas and they work with County Department of Social Services to identify places in the county that help kids who need toys," he said.
Maisano also works closely with his wife on the project, along with local politicians from "across the aisle."
"Every year different politicians come by to drop off a toy, it's a cause that unites everyone," he said.
The drive will be held on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at RRQ BBQ, which is located at 2 Pelham Road.