Thousands of children receive free toys

Thousands of children in thousands of families received free toys from the community and four generous San Francisco organizations this Christmas season, officials from those organizations said.

Lefty O’Doul’s Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge at 333 Geary St. collected and gave away more than 15,000 toys this season, including about 5,000 this morning to about 1,000 children.

Last week, more than 2,000 children divvied up about 8,000 toys at Glide Memorial Church at 330 Ellis St.

Glide co-founder Janice Mirikitani said in a statement:

“It is the season that we celebrate what Christmas is about-the children and the hope they bring us even in times of darkness-birth and renewal.”

Workers at Glide also served Christmas dinner today to the city’s hungry.

San Francisco firefighters on Christmas Eve gave toys to children of 600 families at San Francisco’s Handlery Union Square Hotel at 351 Geary St.

Also this season, about 4,000 children received toys and their families received gift cards from workers at The Salvation Army at the agency’s “Toy and Joy Shop.”

Workers at The Salvation Army gave toys to children 12 and under as well as those 13 to 16 years old. Many groups give toys only to children 12 and younger, officials with The Salvation Army said. Older children also wish for gifts their more fortunate peers get, officials with The Salvation Army said.

The Salvation Army’s spokeswoman Sally Robb Haims thanked community members for their support with the toy giveaway.

Haims said:

“We’re very, very grateful to the community…Without them we couldn’t do what we do.”

An estimated 14,008 children in San Francisco in 2015 lived in poverty, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.