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Toys Arrive at Rescue Mission Just in Time for the Holidays

From ‘The Desert Sun’

It was not Santa’s sleigh, but a van arrived mid-morning Tuesday brimming with toys for the valley’s less fortunate girls and boys at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.

Retrotel, a Palm Springs-based telephone equipment company, bought and delivered 526 toys, including 100 soccer balls and 100 footballs, to the Indio homeless shelter.

The toys were placed in a secured storage facility outside the Rescue Mission and will be distributed to children attending the shelter’s Christmas Eve and Christmas Day dinners, said Sue Meyers, Rescue Mission director of operations.

“It’s going to be a bountiful Christmas for all,” Meyers said. “This is wonderful.”

Retrotel was inspired to donate the toys after hearing about the major shortage of toys at the Rescue Mission through news reports. “This was one of the locations that we saw really needed our help,” Retrotel Chief Executive Officer Brian Sonderman said Tuesday.

Within five days, Retrotel raised $4,500 with the Palm Desert real estate company Baxley Properties and the La Quinta-based Capobianco Law Offices to purchase more than 500 toys, Sonderman said. Retrotel staff purchased the toys Sunday and Monday at discounted prices from Wal-Mart, Sonderman said.

“It was fun to go in there,” said Stacy Anzilotti, Retrotel head saleswoman who helped purchase the toys. “We feel that we are doing something good.”

With the Retrotel donation, the Rescue Mission will have 800 toys available for the toy giveaway. More than 2,000 people were expected to attend the Rescue Mission’s holiday dinners on Thursday and today, Meyers said.

The Rescue Mission has already given away toys to 4,500 children during a giveaway on Monday. It has collected at least 10,000 toys so far, Meyers said. “We were facing shortages but the (toys) multiplied,” she said. “The community has been absolutely wonderful.”

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