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Sylvia Weatherspoon honored by Mayor for dedication to community through Sylvia's Toys for Christmas

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BATON ROUGE - WBRZ anchor and reporter Sylvia Weatherspoon was honored by Mayor Sharon Weston Broome at Wednesday's Metro Council meeting for her dedication to the community through the Sylvia's Toys for Christmas toy drive.

"Your efforts have made a significant difference in the lives of many families, ensuring that every child has the opportunity to experience the magic of Christmas," the certificate of commendation read.  

Since 2015, Sylvia has partnered with St. Vincent de Paul to collect and distribute toys for children in need during the holidays. Sylvia said she was inspired to start the project by Trevor Sims, an 11-year-old who died from cancer in 2013. 

"Trevor encouraged me to do everything I had in my heart to do for little kids," she said. 

Each year, more than 3,000 toys are handed out to children aged two to thirteen on the Saturday before Christmas. Every toy is wrapped by St. Vincent de Paul volunteers. Children leave with two or three gifts that are ready to go under the tree.

"Since 2015, Sylvia's Toys for Christmas has provided more than 30,000 toys to St. Vincent de Paul. That's roughly about 10,000 children in underserved communities in East Baton Rouge Parish," Sylvia said. 

Sylvia's Toys for Christmas also donates toys to five churches in the area and the Arts Council of Greater Baton Rouge to make more Christmas wishes come true. 

The organization also does Sylvia's Toys for Christmas in July, which is aimed at providing scholarships for children to complete service projects in the area. 

"The goal is to teach children the importance of serving others, as well as giving them the real-life experience of being able to do that by providing small scholarships, between $25 to $100, to purchase items needed to execute age-appropriate community service projects they choose," Sylvia said.

"Most of the little ones chose donating books and creating greeting cards, while the older kids baked cookies for firemen and donated smoke detectors, or donated food to animal shelters—and as a bonus played with some of the puppies and kittens."

In 2023, Sylvia's Toys for Christmas in July offered scholarships to 20 children. As a group, they donated more than 1,000 pounds of non-perishable food items to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. 

For more information on Sylvia's Toys for Christmas, click here.

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