MILWAUKEE — On Tuesday morning at the "We Got This" Community Garden, founder Andre Lee Ellis sat by a fire, waiting for locals to donate toys to his toy drive.
“We want to make sure that during this time of challenges people know they are loved and cared about...this is the season of love,” said Andre.
Andre started collecting toys for children on Saturday and although he has received some generous donations, he says there is still a need.
“We don’t have enough, we are looking for more people who have a little extra something. When you go to the store, pick up a toy,” said Andre.
The toy drive is just a portion of the good Andre is doing for community members. Along with collecting toys, he spent the afternoon handing out hot meals to locals. It's something Andre and Running Rebels started doing this year, after seeing the impacts of COVID-19.
It's also the pandemic that inspired Andre to start the toy drive. He said he has seen so many families struggling this year, and even more are in need of help this holiday season.
Andre hopes something as small as a coloring book or crayons will make a child smile on Christmas morning.
“Then maybe that night they can open the gift at midnight or the next day and feel like Christmas happened in their house,” said Andre.
Andre will continue collecting toys on Wednesday from 9:00 a.m.- 3:00 p.m at 3260 N 9th St, Milwaukee.
The toys will be distributed to families in need on Christmas Eve.