The holiday season brings the hustle and bustle and the time to give to others that may be in need. Giving back to the community is what it was all about for the organizers of second annual “Give Back” Toy Drive hosted at the 1985 Gallery in the Crossroads Shopping Center this past Saturday. The event was presented by Brittany Alexander, Israel Flores of the A-Team, Bruce Gong of Bruce’s Barbershop, and Ryan Sibitz from 1985 Gallery.
“It was great,” said Sibitz. “It definitely grew since last year. We had a great turnout. Local businesses pitched in and all donated some nice stuff which should help a lot of kids on Christmas.”
There were several people in attendance at the event and a variety of activities for children and guests. Friends and family of the organizers were on hand to support the cause where they received several donations like a few bikes and several toys. All donations will be given to Central Valley Foster Care in Riverbank.
There was music, treats and La Parrilla in the Crossroads Shopping Center provided food for guests to enjoy. They even had some famous guests mingling around like Ninja Turtles Michelangelo and Leonardo as well as Spiderman and Santa. Starbucks donated coffee and pastries to add to the festivities.
Any adult that donated a toy received a raffle ticket and they were able enjoy the food, games, and refreshments and everything was free for kids.
Bruce’s Barbershop was giving kids free haircuts inside the Gallery and Sibitz had items discounted. There were about six or seven kids that received a haircut, fade or trim. Gong has been a barber for two years and has had his shop in Riverbank on Atchison Street for about the same length of time.
Flores explained that the A-Team is a nightlife promotion company and they normally only do club events. After collaborating with Alexander, however, they decided that they wanted to give back to the community so last year they decided to create the “Give Back” toy drive.
“We have a lot of family out here in the valley so we decided to give back and do something for the kids,” said Flores.
“Izzy (Israel Flores) is one of my biggest inspirations,” added Alexander. “He took nothing and made something out of it. I used all of his friends and resources and was able to bring our community together. This year the participation was awesome. We got a lot of good stuff this year for the kids.”