Batavia Toy Drive seeks donations

Christmas gift tradition brings cheer to families

Brittany Bailey-Cole organizes the annual Batavia Christmas Toy Drive with her husband Alvin Cole. (Mark Foster)

BATAVIA – The Batavia Toy Drive will bring a bountiful Christmas to children of community families in need.

More than 400 Batavia youngsters and teenagers will receive toys, games and other gifts through the program this year, organizer Brittany Bailey-Cole said.

With just days from the distribution date when parents are invited to shop for their children at a secure location, more donations are needed, Bailey-Cole said.

Residents are being asked to donate a new, unwrapped toy or to make a financial donation in order to ensure a happy holiday season for Batavia families.

Toys may be dropped off in bins located at Batavia High School, both Batavia fire stations, Gammon Coach House and Daddio’s Diner.

Financial donations, including gift cards, may be delivered to the Batavia Police Department at Batavia City Hall. Checks should be made out to “Batavia ACCESS Toys.”

Sporting equipment and gift cards are especially welcome as donations, Bailey-Cole said, particularly for those hard-to-buy-for teenagers.

Toys, games and sporting equipment are being donated for the annual Batavia Christmas Toy Drive. (Mark Foster)

“We are here for the people of Batavia to make sure they have a merry Christmas,” Bailey-Cole said. “Everything is from the community.”

Bailey is the third generation of the Batavians who have operated the toy drive. It began with her grandmother, the late Mildred Bailey. The program later was taken over by Brittany Bailey-Cole’s father, Roy Bailey Jr., for many years.

Now the program is headed by Bailey-Cole and her husband, Alvin Cole.

Toys and other gifts for the children will be distributed at an undisclosed commercial building space.

Eligible families receive a letter from the Toy Drive committee, Bailey-Cole said. Families have been identified by schools, churches, police or other agencies as people who would benefit from the program.

When parents arrive at the location, they will be able to obtain gifts for their children up to the age of 17 in an arrangement designed to produce a festive shopping experience.

The origins of the Toy Drive can be traced to 1948, Mayor Jeff Schielke said, when members of the Batavia Fire Department repaired broken toys for distribution.

“This really is Batavia stepping up and taking care of its own,” Schielke said.