Robinsons host holiday toy drive

Hosted at the President's Mansion, the annual President's Toy Drive brought together the rattler community to donate gifts for children in the Tallahassee Area on Dec. 7.
Photo Submitted by Ariyon Dailey.

Florida A&M University staff, faculty students and community members donated gifts, enjoyed food and reveled in the holiday spirit at ahe annual President’s Toy Drive celebration. The event took place on Friday, Dec. 7 at the President’s Mansion from 5 p.m. until 7 p.m.

The President’s Toy Drive is an event made to showcase how Rattlers come together and give back during the holiday season. Guests were asked to purchase toys to donate for children in Tallahassee.

FAMU President Larry Robinson was happy to see everyone come together for a great cause. He hoped guests were reminded of the importance of giving back.

“Our goal here is to have a lot of fun, make people feel good about giving and shock the community with how much we’re able to gather here and provide for the young people around us,” Robinson said. “The toy drive is a staple in FAMU culture and it’s important we keep it going because it gives us an opportunity to have young people in the community who really don’t have a bright Christmas, something to look forward to like many of us do.”

The toys will be given to children who live in low-income homes, foster homes or children with incarcerated parents. The toys will be distributed amongst various organizations who will provide the children with the donated gifts.

The home was decorated with holiday wreaths, red & white stockings, and a brightly lit Christmas tree that stood in the living room where guests could eat, connect with one another and take photos. They also had the opportunity to enter special raffles and receive Christmas themed party favors.

FAMU Cheerleading spread their holiday cheer by coming to the celebration. Accounting major and cheerleader, Taylor Ford, recalled how the event reinforced her love for the holidays.

“I’m definitely looking forward to the holidays because it gives me a chance to go home and really spend time with my family,” Ford said.

Being a part of the “college of love and charity,” Rattlers are always reminded to give back, especially during the holiday season.

The 112th Miss FAMU Imani Cooper attended the event and cheerfully interacted with guests. Cooper explained how much she enjoyed celebrating the spirit of Christmas.

“Christmas is my favorite holiday. It's just the spirit of Christmas that I really enjoy. Celebrating the life of Jesus, being with family, having a good time, eating good food,” Cooper said. “I just enjoy engaging with everyone. And okay—this is my favorite time of the year! I’m just having a great time.”

Cooper along with the 18th Mr. FAMU  Myles Millsap, collected toys for the event this past September by requesting children’s gifts at the 122th FAMU Coronation ceremony.

“I’m definitely in the holiday mood—drinking eggnog and stuff! But it’s one of the best times of the year,” Millsap said. “I actually don’t look for gifts too much anymore, but to be able to give back to others is something I find a lot of joy in.”

On the opposite side of the house, there was a room filled with a number of children’s bicycles and of course more food and décor for the guest to enjoy.  There was even Santa and his holiday helpers walking around to greet guests.

President Robinson and First Lady Sharon Robinson casually interacted with guest and enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, in a tent on the side of the house. Their biggest toy request was bicycles.

First Lady Robinson said that she hoped the bicycles become a part of the children’s daily routine.

“We hope that the bicycles and toys will be something that can enrich them, compliment school and enhance their learning experience,” Robinson added.

The President’s Toy Drive Celebration appeared to be an overall success as it brought guests great joy as everyone continued to laugh, eat and fellowship with each other in their holiday attire.