The 39th Annual Oakland Mayor’s Toy Drive will return for the ninth straight year for its opening reception to the offices of Boxer & Gerson, LLP in the Rotunda Building at Frank G Ogawa Plaza on December 7.
The firm began the reception in 2009 as strictly an in-house affair encouraging employees to donate to the drive while enjoying cookies and hot chocolate in a low-key setting. It has since grown to attract 41 sponsors to a fun-filled reception that draws some 250 guests from the entire Oakland workers’ compensation community. Their “price of admission” to the event is either five unwrapped non-violent toys suitable for children up to 12 years old, or a check for $50 that goes toward buying toys.
The drive collects and distributes toys during the holiday season to needy children throughout the Oakland metropolitan area.
As in years past, the dinner-time affair (5-8 p.m.) will feature catered finger foods and drinks, musical entertainment, and a raffle item that should engender plentiful interest during the event: a signed Golden State Warriors game jersey from All-Star power forward Draymond Green.
Visiting dignitaries will include Oakland Mayor Libby Schaaf, recently appointed Fire Chief Darin White, and Workers’ Compensation Appeals Board Presiding Judge Gene Lam. Music will be provided by the Pacific Boychoir Academy, the Piedmont Troubadours, and the George Spencer Trio.
“The Toy Drive and our role in it seems to get bigger every year,” says Boxer & Gerson Partner Maria Grasso, whose brainchild the reception was nine years ago and who still plays a lead role in the abundant planning to which many other firm employees contribute.
Sager notes that Boxer & Gerson employees continue to participate in an in-house toy drive of their own in the days leading up to the reception. Their contributions are added to the larger drive that last year yielded 32 bins of toys from the reception, along with $18,000 in checks. This year, the drive has already collected nearly $30,000 as of mid-November.
“We’re very happy to keep growing this event,” says Sager. “It is always a happy occasion filled with holiday spirit, and most importantly, it ensures that thousands of Oakland children are gifted with toys who may otherwise have gone without.”