Article and photos by Martha McGowan and Keith Verlaque
2013 is the eighth year that San Diego Region has sponsored a toy drive to benefit Rady Children’s Hospital. This is the only hospital in the San Diego area dedicated exclusively to pediatric health and trauma care. The 2013 Charity Team of Keith Verlaque and Martha McGowan organized the collection of toys at club events during the months of October, November and December. Additionally this year, at the suggestion of President Bev Gould, we set up toy collection bins and signs at Hoehn Porsche, Porsche of San Diego, and TC’s Garage. Placing these extra toy bins at various locations around San Diego contributed significantly to our most successful toy drive collection ever.
On December 15th, the toy drive culminated in a breakfast with Santa followed by a caravan of Porsches to deliver the toys to Rady Children’s Hospital. Fifty club members showed up at Mimi’s Café in Mission Valley for breakfast. At 9:30 a.m., Santa and his helper elf arrived to the cheers and amazement of numerous other guests at Mimi’s. All of the kids in attendance at the breakfast had a chance to sit with Santa and let him know what they wanted for Christmas. Wanting to join the fun, several of the adults sat with Santa for photos.
At the conclusion of the photo session with Santa, we adjourned to the parking lot and about 35 Porsches formed a convoy to Rady Children’s Hospital behind Santa, who sat in the rumble seat of a 1920 Model-A Ford. Upon arrival, we parked along the entryway and were met by Lori Mathios, our hospital contact for about five years now. In addition to all the Porsches, President Bev and Tom Gould’s SUV, Jim Binford’s truck, and Mike Brown’s truck were filled with toys. SDR members unloaded their cars and placed the toys in the bins provided by the hospital. We filled three bins to capacity with toys. Afterwards, we gathered around the fountain for some photos, and then Santa went in to visit children in the hospital.
Keith and I would like to extend a huge “Thank You” to everyone who participated in donating toys to this very worthwhile cause. Lori explained that the kids find a great deal of comfort in holding a cuddly animal before a surgery. To lend a helping hand to children who are faced with a chronic illness, or battling a life-threatening disease, by providing a toy during the Christmas season goes a long way to helping them heal. Your generosity is truly appreciated. SDR members did a great job this year, as always!