Bringing generosity to the Riverbank community hosting a food and toy giveaway, Armando Reyes in collaboration with the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District (SCFPD), San Jose Taqueria, several non-profits in the area and church organizations held a two part charity event on Dec. 22 and 23 to give back to those less fortunate.
Reyes was born and raised in Riverbank and has a love for the community. Taking advantage of some of the services that were offered to his family when he was young, Reyes now wants to give back. He currently resides in Los Angeles and made his way back to Stanislaus County to help the community that helped him during this holiday season.
“So I said this is the perfect time for me to give back,” said Reyes. “And you know what, every year that my health permits I will continue giving back.”
Through fundraising, donations, and charitable organizations, Reyes was able to purchase several toys that were delivered to not only Riverbank children but kids throughout Stanislaus County.
“A lot of stores like Kmart in Oakdale donated some bikes and toys and Target in Riverbank and the list keeps on going,” stated Reyes. “We got a lot of donations from different stores throughout the area, throughout the region.
“We have estimated around $12,000 to $14,000 in toys that we gave out throughout the county.”
Some of the toys collected were given to different non-profits throughout Stanislaus County and a few different churches that needed toys for their own toy drives.
Members of the SCFPD brought out one of their fire trucks and filled it with toys on Monday, Dec. 22 along with some food baskets for Riverbank residents in need. Reyes heard that they were going to deliver food baskets within the community so he called the fire department to see if they wanted to collaborate and add toys to their deliveries.
“They were very welcoming (SCFPD) and Battalion Chief Kevin Wise was very warmhearted as well,” added Reyes. “He is actually the person that I thank for this opportunity because he coordinated for people to be out there.
“Wise had fire trucks out here and then when we did deliveries throughout the area, he was one of the drivers. He made this event possible.”
Another supporter of the giveaway was San Jose Taqueria, which provided free meals to several people and is where part two of the event was held. The taqueria gave out coupons for a free meal that included a taco meal or a burrito and beverage on Tuesday, Dec. 23. The toy distribution also continued from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m. and families were lined up with their kids. There were families from Stockton, Hughson, Newman, Modesto, Oakdale, Escalon, Riverbank, Ceres, and Turlock that lined up to get their kids toys.
“This year we were blessed to get a partnership with Taqueria San Jose in Riverbank, who donated all the food,” stated Reyes. “They (also) donated thousands of dollars of toys and you know it is a great partnership. They showed interest that they want to continue doing this every year.”
Riverbank City Councilmember Darlene Barber-Martinez was on the scene Tuesday night to help sort and pass out toys for the event and supported Reyes with his toy drive.
“Councilmember Martinez was there the entire time, welcoming people throughout the event,” added Reyes. “It was just a really nice fun event, seeing little kids smile.”
Families had to register for the toy and food drive to participate. According to Reyes, there were approximately 1285 toys with the toys distributed throughout Riverbank, some given to non-profit organizations and around 400 families that made their way to Riverbank for the toy distribution Tuesday night.
“I am very happy that this event turned out to be a great success,” expressed Reyes. “We had tons of families, we had thousands of toys and we had hundreds of families throughout the entire duration of this toy drive. It is incredible the support we got.”