From Barbies to Legos, Monopoly to nail art kits, the foyer of Linda Plattus' Scarsdale home was brimming with toys–all donated and all going to needy children in Westchester County this holiday season.
Friends, volunteers and board members of the Westchester Jewish Community Services gathered at the Scarsdale resident's home for a holiday luncheon Thursday afternoon–all bringing gifts and donations for local children.
Plattus, a member of the WJCS Board of Directors, has been holding this luncheon for the past seven years, opening her home to help the Westchester Jewish Community Services Have-a-Heart Holiday Gift Drive.
Each year, about 50 to 80 women come for lunch and the group collects an average of $4,000 in toys and gift card donations, Plattus said.
"We give out the toys to children throughout Westchester," she said. "Typically, it's the only toy these children will get."
This year, Shamar Watson, program director of Off the Street, a program sponsored by the WJCS, was a special guest.
Watson's program, which provides after-school tutoring and mentoring to 80 children in Mount Vernon, will receive some of the donated toys for the holiday, he said.
Many of the ladies at Thursday's luncheon volunteer for Off the Street, teaching classes such as cooking and art, or helping to tutor the second through sixth grade students.
Several local businesses donated to the Have-a-Heart Holiday Gift Drive, including Martine's Bakery, House of Flowers, Standing Room Only, Cherry Lawn and Lang's Deli, Plattus noted.
Helene Gray, a friend of Linda's, has been supporting the cause and attending the holiday lunch for the past five years.
"I just think it's so generous to open up her home and her heart, and we just know how fortunate we are and our children our," Gray said.
For more information about Westchester Jewish Community Services, go to www.wjcs.com today.