The Uniformed Fire Officers Association presented bags of toys to Council Speaker Corey Johnson this morning at a Midtown Manhattan firehouse for distribution to underprivileged children at Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen in Chelsea just before the Christmas holiday.
The toy drive is part of a larger program by Johnson to collect and distribute toys throughout the city.
The union — represented by their President Jake LaMonda, an FDNY battalion chief, and union trustees, — presented numerous bags of toys, gathered by firefighters and FDNY officers on Tuesday at Ladder 7 on West 31st Street. Johnson’s office staff then delivered the toys this morning to Reverend Anna Pearson at the church at 296 9th Ave. so they can be provided to children in time for Christmas.
“We are proud to be part of this to help make a children’s day brighter,” said Johnson. “Year in and year out, Jake and his team give back to the community and they came to me saying they are organizing this toy distribution to children in the neighborhood and they give back to the community. These wonderful toys, the UFOA chipped in, is about gratitude and giving back to others. These are their values every single day.”
LaMonda said his union and the speaker have an “open door policy” that makes for great partnerships, something he has worked to make happen all year.
“We are proud to partner with the Speaker and use our great organization to help others,” LaMonda said.
Pearson was grateful for the toys that she said her group will distribute before Christmas. “This will make so many children so much happier, and make their holiday so much brighter,” she said.
Holy Apostles Soup Kitchen is one of the city’s largest food programs, serving a cafeteria-style lunch, Brown Bag Lunch program, Backpack Pantry Program, Sunday Supper, and social services initiatives. They also hold programs for children in the community.