Spirit of the Community Holiday Toy Drive through December 24th.

(Photo by Ross A Benson)

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  It’s about families and communities coming together in the spirit of the holidays to celebrate this joyful time of year and a season of giving. These are the reasons that Tequilas Cantina & Grill, the Burbank Chamber of Commerce, and Mayor Bob Frutos joined forces with Family Promise of the Verdugos on a Spirit of the Community Holiday Toy Drive. This partnership will bring hope and joy to deserving children and families for a world of good wishes.

Under the inspirational leadership of Chief Executive Officer, Albert Hernandez, Family Promise of the Verdugos is a local homeless service provider helping families with children experiencing homelessness in Burbank and surrounding communities.  Their goal is simple – end homelessness one family at a time.  With homelessness on the rise, Family Promise has expanded its valuable services – because every family matters. 

Family Promise cannot do this critical work alone, so the owners of Tequilas stepped up to spearhead a Burbank community effort by launching the Spirit of the Community Holiday Toy Drive to benefit the children of Family Promise.  Thank you Patricia and Carlos for bringing the Tequilas spirit of giving to our community and enlisting partners to help with Santa’s mission. 

Once The Burbank Chamber of Commerce learned about this wonderful concept the partnership grew. Not only does the Chamber support businesses, but they support the community at large – a thriving community makes for a strong Burbank!

The word quickly spread and we’re also proud to announce that other restaurants have stepped in to support as a toy collection hub in their restaurants – Barragan’s, The Morrison, Over Under Public House, and Romancing the Bean.

It truly takes a village and that was proudly showcased at the Spirit of the Community Holiday Toy Drive Kick-off Event hosted at Tequilas Cantina & Grill on December 5th. It was a full house and Tequilas created a holiday wonderland and deliciously inviting environment for a festive evening of fun with a purpose.  All guests brought toys, sampled a menu of tasty bites, enjoyed holiday music, and were able to mix and mingle with Santa himself.

Owner, Patricia Franco shared “what a joy to see an idea come to life.  Sunday’s Spirit of the Community Toy Drive was simply magical. It was truly a concerted effort of community unity.  The event was a combination of people that worked together with the vision of assisting those that may be facing challenges in their lives. 

We had elected officials, business owners, non-profit organizations, members of the community, and children in attendance. Santa dropped by to share the joy of this special evening. You could feel in the atmosphere that it was full of love, holiday spirit, cheer, fellowship, open hearts, sharing, and selflessness. 

There was one objective that all attendees had in common – support the toy-raiser to benefit the children in the Family Promise and come to the event and donate toys. 

Not only was it an exceptional night raising toys, but also a parent had an opportunity to create a life lesson for her children.  She wanted to make this an annual event so her children can learn the value of giving to others.  This was a very touching statement because I could see the power in community kinship and the unexpected, unintentional benefit that this event brought to her as a parent raising her children.”

Family Promise’s Albert Hernandez added “the Spirit of Community Toy Drive hosted by our six partners is truly a blessing to Family Promise. It’s through this toy drive that we will be able to bring smiles and joy to children in our community who are experiencing homelessness. For many of the families benefiting from this toy drive will be the only gift that they receive this holiday season. Families who are living in our shelter programs work hard to save their income for security deposits and other move-in costs, thus these toys will give so many children the excitement of the holidays.”

Giving Santa a run for his money was Mayor Bob Frutos.  It doesn’t take the holiday season to see our Mayor out and about supporting the community up close and personal on a regular basis.

Mayor Frutos stated that “this is the beginning of a great holiday season to be able to come together as a caring community to kick-off this toy drive.  I was happy to see so many friends and neighbors who stepped up to the plate by donating toys for a child.  

The need is greater than ever, it has been a challenging year for many families, and I ask anyone who can, to please donate a new toy and bring a smile to a child’s face.  

A big thank you to everyone who continues to show compassion for one another and especially our children.  I am proud of our Burbank Community.”

So, on behalf of Family Promise, Tequilas, the Chamber, Barragan’s, Romancing the Bean, The Morrison, Over Under Public House, and the Mayor of this fine city, we ask you to join us by spreading peace, love, and hope, and dropping off a new and unwrapped toy between now and December 24th at these locations throughout the City.

Happy Holidays Burbank!