The city of Harlem is hoping to make Christmas morning a little brighter for needy children.
It is the city's fourth year holding a toy drive to benefit area families at the holidays.
"We distribute them at the housing authority and take referrals, families that contact Community Connections or contact the city and need some assistance for Christmas," said Denise Carter, the coordinator of the toy drive.
Last year, the drive provided Christmas toys for eight families, she said.
New and unwrapped toys are being accepted through Dec. 15 at City Hall, City Hall Annex building, the Laurel and Hardy Museum and the Harlem Department of Public Safety.
This year, Gary Rolland, a member of the Harlem Masonic Lodge, decided to get involved in the drive by collecting money to buy gifts for the older children. Rolland, who has lived in Harlem for 40 years, said he's blessed with two children and two grandchildren and wanted to pass some of the blessings along to others.
"I know the Lord has been good to me and I figured I would give back some, since he's been good to me," Rolland said.
"I know what it is not to have a Christmas and a lot of people that give know what it is like not to have a Christmas."
Rolland and a few other volunteers have been going door-to-door collecting more than $600 in donations from Harlem residents and businesses. He and other volunteers will be collecting donations Saturday during the city's Christmas parade and Christmas in the Heart of Downtown Harlem.
"I'm not too old not to beg. I will beg," Rolland said. "Next year, we hope to make it bigger. Next year, we are going to try to get the men involved in fixing up bicycles and giving them out and Christmas."
For more information, call Carter at (706) 556-0043.
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