SMART Toy Giveaway

HOLIDAY FUN — Brothers Noel An­guao, 6, left, and Jonathan Gar­cia, 12, right, visit Friday at Penny Lane Center with Santa Claus during distribution of toys collected by BYD Coach & Bus union employees.

LANCASTER — Union employees from BYD Coach & Bus conducted their first toy drive this year, and it was a suc­cess, as employees do­nated about 800 toys and clothing.

They distributed the gifts Friday morning at Penny Lane Center.

Penny Lane is a non­prof­it or­gan­ization that pro­vides therapeutic res­i­den­tial services, fos­ter fam­ily home place­ments, adop­tion ser­vices, tran­si­tion­al and af­ford­able hous­ing, fam­ily pres­er­va­tion, in­ten­sive services and men­tal health ser­vices for children youth and families throughout Los Angeles County.

The toy drive was union effort by members of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Trans­por­tation Work­ers, or SMART Local 105. BYD assisted by pro­vi­ding an electric bus and giv­ing employees the time off to deliver the gifts.

“I think we could not have picked a better place than Penny Lane,” union organizer Willy Solorzano said.

The nonprofit or­gan­iz­ation cares for over 3,500 abused and neglected chil­dren, youth and fam­il­ies a month countywide.

“I think helping the com­munity is always a good thing, but providing a smile for the kids at the hol­i­days it’s a plus; it’s a win-win,” Soloranzo said, ad­ding they expected about 300 boys and girls.

BYD provided a bus and also chipped in about $500. Individual employees also donated money used to purchase clothing and toys.

Some BYD employees were in the Penny Lane sys­tem as children, So­lor­anzo said.

“Now they’re in the other side, they’re giv­ing back. They’re over­whelmed with joy they are able to give back,” So­lar­anzo said.

The workers emptied a elec­tric bus packed with toys and placed the toys in a room where Santa waited for the children to join him.

“I thought it was amaz­ing because we have so many families here that are in need, and it’s just a beau­tif­ul opportunity and es­pecially up here in the AV because we don’t get many opportunities.  … It’s nice when they can come here,” said Felicia Ramirez, a supervisor with Penny Lane.

Children 11 and younger received a toy and children ages 12 and older received clothes. Each child got an opportunity to get a picture with Santa.

Lupe Valdez brought her three boys — Ernesto Riv­era, 18 months, Jonathan Gar­cia, 12, and Noel An­guao, 6 — to Penny Lane so they could receive gifts.

Jonathan received a Hot Wheels set he deemed “good.”

“Oh, yes; it’s very nice,” Valdez said of the toy giveaway.

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.