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New Residents donate toys for the holidays

By Staff | Dec 18, 2015

Cape Coral’s newer residents are getting into the spirit of the holiday season, joining many others in making sure those who are less fortunate have something to show for Christmas.

The New Residents Club, with more than 1,000 active members, has donated hundreds of new toys as a way to help the less fortunate and get their name out to get more people to join.

“You have over 1,000 people. Most of our kids are grown up. But it’s a great service organization for Cape Coral,” said Pat Wood, who organized the event, the first for the club.

Many of the toys were on display Thursday at a home on Mohawk Parkway. They featured dolls, board games, bicycles, footballs, toy trucks and more from generous people throughout the city, new or otherwise.

Wood said most of the toys were donated. However, one person donated $100 in cash.

“He asked if we wanted the gifts or cash. We had someone who donated three bicycles and we figured if they can’t afford bicycles, they can’t afford a helmet,” Wood said. “We took the money and brought three helmets and a Razor.”

Linda Peterson, first vice president who is from Ohio, said she was amazed by the generosity of all the members.

“We also do food for the Caring Center, and the morning they brought the presents in and the food, the people were amazing, a fun group,” Peterson said.

Comparing the generosity of the members to that of those up north, where most of the new residents come from, is about the same, with some differences.

“Up north, they have lives up there. They’re busy, they have kids, hockey, whatever. Here, you have more time on your hands, more disposable income, you’re retired,” said Ray Harrison.

Many of the people brought the toys to the general meeting and to the men’s breakfast and other functions, Harrison said, which is it easier and more enjoyable to donate.

“It was easy. We did flashes on e-mails and the people came to donate,” Wood said. “Forty people brought gifts on Wednesday night bocce.”

Sea Tow and the Parks and Recreation of Cape Coral sponsored the drive, as well as the Christmas boat parade at Four Freedoms Park. The premise is that if you donate a toy, that makes you eligible for the parade.

The New Residents Club is for people who have lived in Cape Coral less than two years. Those who make it two years are known as “graduates” and are members for life. You can’t vote or hold office, but you can come to the gatherings and donate.