Dec. 3, 2020 By Michael Dorgan
The annual Sunnyside Santathon is being held virtually this year and organizers are looking to raise $10,000 to buy new clothes and toys for children in need.
The event, now in its ninth year, was launched Tuesday by a collection of local bars and restaurants known as Sunnyside’s Boulevard Bars.
The group has created a GoFundMe page for residents to make donations that will run through Dec. 31.
Residents can also drop off unwrapped toys and new clothes at participating establishments throughout the month.
All donations will go directly to Queen of Angels Catholic Church in Sunnyside as well as the Floating Hospital and Hour Children in Long Island City. The organizations will use the funds to purchase warm-clothes and toys for children in need over the holiday season.
The Santathon typically sees residents dressed in Santa suits go on a pub crawl around Sunnyside. The profits generated from the event would go toward charity.
Organizers have canceled the pub crawl this year due to safety concerns surrounding COVID-19 and instead are calling on residents to make online donations or contribute unwanted toys and clothes.
Melissa Navia, a resident and lead organizer of the initiative, said that the need for warm clothes and toys is more important than ever given the unsettling year many children have endured.
“Families are facing hardships right now that they never imagined and an uncertainty that is overwhelming,” Navia said.
“But we have a wonderful opportunity through this event to offer not only respite but hope, especially at a time of year that should be celebratory.”
The Santathon raised more than $5,000 in 2019 and Navia, who has helped organize the event since its inception in 2012, said that the group is looking to double that amount this year.
“The Sunnyside community always comes together in times of crisis and the need is even greater this year,” Navia said.
Navia said monetary donations will also be accepted after Christmas. She is also calling on residents to donate any unwanted gifts or clothes they receive over the festive period.
Socks, gloves and hats are in high demand, Navia said.
Sister Teresa Fitzgerald, Executive Director of Hour Children, said that it is gratifying to see so many businesses and residents come together to help those less fortunate.
“2020, the year of the pandemic, is a year marked by isolation, unrest, uncertainty, and fear,” Fitzgerald said. “A year so many of us would prefer to forget.”
“And yet you, our friends taking part in Santathon 2020, have chosen to remember children and young people who have been impacted by the pandemic, by poverty, by the absence of a beloved parent.”
Financial donations to the Santathon can be made by clicking here.
Unwrapped toys and new clothes are being accepted at participating bars and restaurants listed below:
Regular updates on the Santathon will be posted on the group’s Facebook page.