Kids Fashion Week So Cal Launches Successful Toy Drive

| January 10, 2021 | 0 Comments

By Stylishly Aubree Lynn

Photo includes all of the volunteers, Santa Mark and the Heartland Firefighters. Photo is courtesy of Tina Lynn.

The year of 2020 started out with high hopes for Kids Fashion Week So-Cal. However, after CV-19 hit, our plans to pursue this year’s events were put on hold. Though our parent company in the District of Columbia (DC) landed a very successful virtual show, So-Cal just couldn’t launch, so we pivoted.

I was asked by the DC team if there was something I could do here in San Diego to be a part of a holiday promotion. Consequently, I had just recently met Lemon Grove City Councilmember Liana LeBaron on her campaign trail and decided to ask her if she wanted to join efforts with a toy drive. She connected me with Lemon Grove Parents United to do a toy drive for the residents of Lemon Grove.

Within a week we reached out to the community and placed toy drive boxes into 12 small Lemon Grove businesses. All of those who participated were able to drive traffic to their local small businesses and help families in need. This continued for two weeks as we were successful at getting articles in the East County Californian, East County Magazine, the Union Tribune, on the Lemon Grove City website, and through various social media outlets.  We were very successful at collecting 200 toys within the 12 businesses. Then we held our toy drive day with KUSI very graciously doing a segment. With the assist from the community, including firefighters, we collected over 300 more toys in two-plus hours. 

With one more week leading up to the toy drive giveaway for the residents of Lemon Grove, more toys kept flowing in. The final tally was a little over 600 toys were collected.

We were then able to work with a school district social worker who coordinated with seven schools to give them upward of 105 toys for kids in the area. To add to the effort, Santa Mark from The Fraternal Order of Real Bearded Santas (FORBS) generously donated his time to be at the giveaway to visit with the kids that were arriving to pick up toys.

With additional coverage from KUSI and their presence at the live event, the response was huge. A local videographer and photographer also offered their services to the toy drive to cover the event and provide additional video footage and photography. Additionally, about 20 volunteers joined the effort at Berry’s Athletic Supply to distribute gifts to residents who arrived to receive Christmas gifts.

Obviously, the toy drive and giveaway was my “feel good” moment of 2020.  It gave me such pleasure to get to know the business owners of my city, and to connect with neighbors and other residents from Lemon Grove. Together we were able to drive traffic to local businesses and raise a record number of toys for needy kids.

It was a joyous occasion to see the smiles on the kids and families faces as we passed out Frozen and Yoda toys, Razor scooters, and Tony Hawk skateboards, as well as gift cards, and sporting gear.  As you might expect, the list of items was abundant, way beyond my expectations. That experience was the cure to heal my heart and spirit from the last ten months that had been so life changing.

As the director of Kids Fashion Week So-Cal, my goal for 2020 was a runway show in December. Though that dream was not possible, I truly lived the impossible and was rewarded by doing the imaginable. I was given the opportunity to bring a community together for a cause greater than themselves. Truly, what greater gift could I experience as director going into 2021?  

Thank you to all of the following: Liana LeBaron for being a visionary; for the Lemon Grove Parents United who joined efforts with Kids Fashion Week Network; for the 12 small, Lemon Grove businesses; all the media, especially KUSI; Heartland Firefighters; Berry’s Athletic Supply; Tina Stout; Jose Lopez; David at U-Haul; Dave; Santa Mark; and all the other volunteers and donors. We couldn’t have done it without you.

To keep on the lookout for what’s to come for Kids Fashion Week, visit


Category: Business, Events, feature, Holidays, Local News

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