The holidays are truly about giving for the young students of Piper Preschool in Santa Monica. From now until Christmas, the students and their families are donating presents to other children who are less fortunate through a school-wide toy drive to benefit the local charity Present Now.
“We’ve already collected a pretty large amount of gifts from our families,” said Jesse Biltz, CEO of Piper Preschool, who says the school is aiming for 100 percent participation from its 300 families.
The school selected Santa Monica-based non-profit Present Now as a partner for the toy drive because the charity has a year-round gift-giving program that service disadvantaged children living in domestic violence shelters across Los Angeles, Orange County, Ventura County and Palm Springs.
“We’ve found that having a local connection is the best way for our school to help directly. As Present Now works with children, it is a great fit for us,” said Biltz. “Being around children at the school every day puts life and our ‘important’ things into perspective. It’s hard to imagine them going through such a confusing and difficult time. and we want to help however we can.”
The new toys will be collected and delivered to Present Now to be used for their Presents Program, which includes several themed packages for the children. On their birthdays, the children receive a Presence of Being Box, which contains a kit to bake a homemade cake, a restaurant gift card for a birthday dinner out on the town, and a surprise birthday gift.
On Valentine’s Day, they receive a Presence of Love Box, which includes an age-appropriate digital toy or learning device, such as Leapfrog or Apple products. In the fall when children go back to school, they receive a Presence of Mind Box, which includes a new backpack filled with school supplies
Present Now’s gift-giving program is designed so that children receive thoughtful presents throughout the year, and the holiday toy drive will help them stock up for 2016 and beyond.
Members of the community who wish to donate to Present Now can find more information at www.presentnow.org.