Approximately 360 children were the recipients of unwrapped toys thanks to the Great Venice Toy Drive, a project of the Venice Neighborhood Council.
The drive, which collected toys over the past month, saw a 33 percent increase in donations from last year, organizers said.
“This event is an example of the amazing community spirit in Venice where people come together and create wonderful events,” Venice Neighborhood Council President Linda Lucks said.
The neighborhood council concluded the project Dec. 8 with a holiday festival, where Ron’s Thursday Night Soccer Club, one of the many soccer teams that utilizes Oakwood’s fields, treated kids to a snow play area and free photos with Santa inside a wooden sleigh.
In addition to choosing a toy, children were able to choose a free used book from the Venice Library, courtesy of the Friends of Venice Library.
Multiple Helpings, the philanthropy arm of the nonprofit West Los Angeles Parents of Multiples Club, was also on hand to provide care packages of essential goods to families in need with young children.
This is the second year that the neighborhood council has sponsored the Great Venice Toy Drive with the city of Los Angeles in response to community concerns about a lack of a local toy giveaways.
“The Oakwood staff went above and beyond to allow us to make this event happen and we couldn’t have done it without the tremendous community support,” said the event’s producer, Mariana Aguilar.