For the second year in a row, Geppetto’s in Del Mar Highlands Town Center was selected as the go-to destination for an anonymous philanthropist to purchase $50,561 worth of toys to donate to the Marine Toys for Tots.
At 6 a.m. on Veterans Day, Nov. 11, Geppetto’s owner Brian Miller opened the doors of his store to the philanthropist’s associates to stock up on gifts, helping pick out toys such as musical instruments, dolls, pogo sticks, games, Polar Express trains and Mario Kart racing cars. The boxes of toys overflowed onto the sidewalk and local Marines came to load up the donations onto a U-Haul truck.
“It was cool to do this on Veterans Day and I’m just happy to be a part of it,” Miller said. “It’s very interesting that they want to remain anonymous, they don’t want any recognition. This is just pure generosity of the season.”
The Marine Toys for Tots program has provided Christmas joy to economically disadvantaged children for the last 72 years. Local drives start in October at community collection sites and the toys are stored in a central warehouse where the toys are sorted by age and gender. In December, with the help of over 150 local nonprofits throughout San Diego and Riverside County, the toys will be distributed to the less fortunate children of the community. Last year 39,305 toys were distributed, supporting 37,843 children.
The receipt for the toys, the largest sale Geppetto’s has seen since last year’s $50,000 sale, was 30 feet long and wrapped around the U-Haul truck.