Newton Foundation hosts holiday dinner and toy giveaway
The Newton Foundation hosted its annual holiday dinner and toy giveaway on Friday, Nov. 24 at The BKLN Diner (formerly Vikki’s Restaurant) at 5924 Ave. N in Mill Basin. The foundation provided toys and other essentials for children and their families from the Glenwood Family Residence.
Nick Cornalis, the proprietor of The BKLN Diner, donated his services for the event. The parents and children chose individual meals from the menu.
Attendees enjoyed an afternoon of holiday cheer, music and storytelling. Gift bags filled with toiletries, including hats, gloves and other outerwear, were given to all attendees.
The Newton Foundation is a nonprofit organization established by Judy Newton and her husband Richard Baxt to provide essential services where they are needed most. The foundation’s goal is to enhance the lives of underprivileged families by providing services that are vital to their needs.
Newton, a retired NYPD detective, has been actively involved for 17 years with the annual dinner and toy giveaway at the City Hall Restaurant. She worked closely with Henry Meer, chef and proprietor of the restaurant, to bring holiday cheer to approximately 300 children and their parents on Christmas Eve. This event was her inspiration to bring the same program to children in her home borough of Brooklyn.
Guests were greeted by Santa Claus and 7-year-old Jacob Abdullah, who has been Santa’s trusted elf for three years.
Elected officials and dignitaries attending included state Sen. Roxanne Persaud; City Councilmember Alan Maisel; 58th Assembly District leader Melba Brown; 59th Assembly District Leader SueAnn Partnow; Shorefront Toys for Tots President Brian Gotlieb, Gerard Brewster of the Flatlands Civic Association; Gina Abadi; Sandra and Tameka Jones; Sandy Goddard; The Too-A-Foo Family; Jean Joseph; and Kerri Peritore.
Gotlieb explained that his involvement with Toys for Tots meant a great deal to him because it helped perpetuate his mother’s legacy. As a child his family was poor, he explained, and now he had the opportunity to make sure that kids would have toys for Christmas.
A highlight of the event was when Santa made his appearance with gifts for all, children, and parents alike. The children gathered around Santa, sat on his lap and had their pictures taken with him before they graciously accepted their presents.
A young girl asked, “Santa, can I have a car for Christmas?” to which Santa replied, “What kind?” The girl said “A Bugatti.” Santa laughed and said, “You better be a real good girl because Santa has no cars in his bag today.” But the children were happy with the presents they received, and one young boy couldn’t wait to play with his brand new chess set.
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