Difference Makers: WCBS 880 listeners step up to support Staten Island toy drive amid pandemic


NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Toy drives are having a tough time collecting donations this year because people are not going to the places where collection boxes typically are placed.

One Staten Island family that has been running a toy collection for over 26 years told WCBS 880 about their struggles and when listeners heard their story, they responded.

“What started as one of our most difficult years, turned out to be the most successful ever,” say Danielle Bonici.

Her family began the toy drive over two decades ago in honor of her uncle, Richard Gardner Jr., a New York City police officer who was killed in a car accident.

At the beginning of December, Danielle – along with her father, Steve, and mother, Lisa –told WCBS 880 about how difficult it has been to collect toys for children in need amid the pandemic.

But, after their story aired on the radio, they were flooded with donations and calls.

“After our story aired on 880, we received boxes and boxes of toys in addition to various monetary donations,” says Danielle.

The Bonici family has raised over $1,900 this year, which is more than double what they normally receive. They also received 500 toys to help over 200 families.

But it wasn’t just WCBS 880 that helped get the word out.

Other media outlets heard about their story and got the word out and then their listeners and viewers responded too.

The Bonici family says they have been overwhelmed by the support and to all those who help, Danielle had one message: “We want to thank you from the bottom of our hearts.”

The family is still taking donations and anyone who wants to help can visit their website.