Students from the West Orange-Stark Elementary School Student Council drop off toys upon arrival to the 59th Annual Toy Coffee fundraiser this past Thursday at First Presbyterian Church in Orange. A record-breaking amount of toys was donated, along with the largest attendance in several years. Photo by Tommy Mann Jr.

Tommy Mann Jr. – For The Record 

The 59th Annual Toy Coffee fundraiser was held at a historic location in downtown Orange this past Thursday and hundreds of area residents attended the event and, in the process, did their best to help make the upcoming holiday that much brighter for area children who may otherwise go without this Christmas.

The event, which is sponsored by the Service League of Orange each year, was held at First Presbyterian Church, located at 902 W. Green Ave. in downtown Orange. Each guest who attended Thursday’s event brought a new, unwrapped toy or a monetary donation, which was given to The Salvation Army of Orange County for use in its Christmas program for needy families.

“We think we had a recordbreaking event,” said Lisa Fournet, Toy Coffee Chairperson. “We’ve never had as many toys donated as we the guests brought (this past) Thursday. It will be such a blessing for those in need this Christmas.”

A total of 701 toys, along with $4,023, were donated by the 524 guests, including several school groups from local districts, who attended Thursday’s Toy Coffee event.

“I think this year’s event was so successful for several reasons,” Fournet explained. “The weather was just beautiful, and that’s always a big help. A big part of the success had to be the location. A majority of the people who came to the Toy Coffee have never been to First Presbyterian Church before, so to see all of the beautiful windows and glass and artwork made into the church really interested people. I think being centrally located in downtown Orange made a difference too.”

Since 2009, more than 2,800 people have attended the Toy Coffee fundraisers while donating approximately 3,500 toys and approximately $28,000 in much needed funds.

Guests were treated to a brief, but informative tour of the historic church, which can trace its origins back to 1878. The beautiful Lutcher Memorial Building, which features the majority of the amazing opalescent stained glass windows the 38-rank Casavant Organ, was completed in 1912.

With the Toy Coffee complete, the next step is for members of the Service League of Orange to assist the Salvation Army of Orange County with meeting the needs of those who applied for Christmas assistance. Approximately 160 to 200 families apply for Christmas help each year.

“We’ll be meeting at the Salvation Army very soon to begin filling these Christmas wishes,” Fournet added. “We will separate the toys into categories and begin filling those lists which were submitted to the Salvation Army. Hopefully, we can help a lot of children have a great Christmas.”