New Rochelle Toy Drive Perseveres Through Inclement Weather

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Vivian Spady and Mary Jo Jacobs Photo Credit: Courtesy of Mary Jo Jacobs

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. -- Despite forecasts warning of a snowstorm, Big Viv's Toy Drive on Saturday is determined to bring toys to children in need.

The drive, which is in its fourth year, works with The Salvation Army. This year, it's also partnering with local New Rochelle businesses after an organization that had previously provided 200 toys announced it would be unable to contribute this year.

Mary Jo Jacobs of New Rochelle, after running unsuccessfully for county legislator, joined with Vivian Spady to initiate partnerships with Educational Tools and Toys and Merry-Go-Round Toy Store.

She said, "When I learned The Salvation Army had a donor that backed out, I thought, 'Why don't we combine our efforts and do this for everyone?' -- which we all were happy to do."

The drive will be held at The Poet's Corner, with refreshments served by local restaurant Alvin & Friends.

Jacobs said, "I always seek opportunities for local businesses to be supported. I wanted to get people downtown to donate. It all came together very quickly. Everyone involved is very enthusiastic, and there's really a warm energy."

Due to the inclement weather, both participating stores are also taking orders from donors over the phone.

"I call it the Rudolph option. You can call the stores and they will order toys on your behalf to donate," she said.

The drive is also taking place on the anniversary of the devastating Sandy Hook shooting.

After the victims' parents implored the public to commit acts of kindness in remembrance, Jacobs realized the drive would be a great way to do so.

"We didn't plan it to land on the same day. It all just kind of coalesced. I think it is a great act of kindness for everyone to do," she said.

Jacobs has lived in New Rochelle for 25 years, where she raises her four children in the public school system.

The drive will run from 12 p.m. - 5 p.m. at The Poet's Corner, 570 Main St. 

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