By Khalida Sarwari
Nothing goes better with a stack of pancakes than syrup–except maybe brand-new toys. It’s an unlikely combination but it’s for a cause that benefits all. Through Dec. 18, a popular breakfast spot in Campbell is collecting toys for needy children in the community.
The idea to do a community toy drive was sort of spur of the moment, said Yaneth Gutierrez, a Campbell resident who has been a server at Stacks on E. Campbell Avenue for nearly a decade. She came up with the idea for the drive with friend and fellow server Monica Bourne, of San Jose.
The two teamed up to collect toys for underprivileged children for the first time last year, said Gutierrez. That collection was for the children of students at the Escuela Popular, an adult education school in San Jose that Gutierrez was attending at the time.
They collected more than 400 books and toys for those kids, mainly from patrons who came to dine at Stacks. With the holidays approaching again, some of those patrons began approaching Gutierrez and asking her if she was collecting toys again this year. And although she hadn’t planned on it, once she saw there was interest from folks in the community, she and Bourne quickly went to work.
“We decided since I’m not going to that school anymore, why don’t we do something for the kids in the community?” Gutierrez said.
For Bourne, the decision to help her friend was an easy one.
“During the holiday season I like to give back as much as I can,” she said. “This is our way of being involved in the community around us.”
Once the women were granted permission from a supervisor, they began creating and posting fliers and promoting the drive on Facebook and through word-of-mouth. Bourne suggested they join forces with the Campbell Chamber of Commerce and Santa Clara County Fire Department, two organizations that sponsor the main toy drive in Campbell.
Gutierrez and Bourne placed a box and a pair of baskets at the restaurant and launched their toy drive on Dec. 8. The goal, Gutierrez said, is to collect about 50 toys by the end of the week, and possibly more by the final date of the collection, which is set for Dec. 18. All the toys will be contributed to the Chamber’s toy drive.
“It doesn’t have to be an expensive gift,” Gutierrez said. “Even a small toy can help to bring happiness to a kid.”
Stacks is accepting new and unwrapped toys, as well as cash, books, games and sporting goods such as basketballs, baseballs, soccer balls and tennis rackets. The items can be for babies up to 14-year-olds.
Bourne said every donation is appreciated.
“We don’t care if we get thousands; if we get 50 toys we’re happy with that,” she said. “We want to make somebody’s Christmas a little bit better.”