Schoolchildren take home toys from 23rd Street Merchants Association

Four children from Grant Elementary School took home toys on Tuesday. (photo by: Evelyn Xiaoqing Pi)

Four children from Grant Elementary School took home toys on Tuesday. (photo by: Evelyn Xiaoqing Pi)

About 2,000 Richmond and San Pablo elementary school children took home a toy each at the annual 23rd Street Merchants Association Toy Giveaway in Richmond on Tuesday.

Richmond and San Pablo kids received toys from the 23rd Street Merchants Association. (photo by: Evelyn Xiaoqing Pi)

“We want to provide something to children whose parents might be out of work,” said Rafael Madrigal, president of the 23rd Street Merchants’ Association. “This might be the only gift they get.”

The association cooperated with elementary schools in Richmond and San Pablo to find children in need. Tickets were offered to the children chosen by the schools, and they were allowed to pick a gift from different groups of toys.

The toys were grouped by age – different toys for children 3-5, 6-8, and 9 and up – with toy cars for boys and Barbies and DIY kits for girls.

Eight-year-old Selena Ayala from Grant Elementary School picked a colorful DIY bead set. “I chose a Barbie first,” she said, “but I want to make a necklace for my mom and my sister. Merry Christmas!”

Selena stood in the line with her family and friends for about an hour before she got the toy. The line surrounded the building at Barrett and 23rd Street.

The giveaway began at 11 a.m. and ended at 1:30 p.m. The association procured 2,000 toys, each costing about $10. Sponsors include Chevron, Veolia, Mechanics Bank, and RichmondBUILD.

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