Cheryl Dinolfo, county executive, and Gary Smith, founder and executive director of the Pirate Toy Fund, recently hosted the second annual toy giveaway for children in need at Blue Cross Arena.
Over 3,500 children were invited to receive a toy donated by Monroe County residents.
“For a second year in a row, I’m delighted to join Gary the Happy Pirate and the Pirate Toy Fund to bring the joy of receiving a gift to even more children for the holidays,” Dinolfo said. “There is no greater thrill than seeing a child’s face as they open a new toy in celebration of the holiday season. I offer my thanks to all those who donated gifts to this worthy cause and to Gary Smith for helping to make our toy drive a new holiday tradition.”
Smith, known locally as Gary the Happy Pirate, collects thousands of toys each year for the Pirate Toy Fund. Donations come primarily from county residents, and are distributed to children in need.
“This is a special event near and dear to me that I’ve been wanting to do for almost 10 years,” Smith said. “With the help of the county and our sponsors, we’ve made it a reality for a second year in row. I am very enthused with the positive reception from the community, and looking forward for this event to become an annual holiday tradition bringing smiles to children for years to come.”
The Pirate Toy Fund was founded in 1995. It collects donated toys, and distributes them to children in need. Since its inception, the fund has distributed nearly 250,000 toys.
Monroe County Department of Human Services helped facilitate the toy giveaway, and sent invitations to 3,500 children who otherwise may not receive gifts this holiday season.