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Donated Toys Stolen From Non-Profit's Van in Oakland

An Oakland non-profit looking to spread holiday cheer is now in need of some help of its own after hundreds of dollars worth of gifts they were preparing for local children were stolen. 

“They just tore up the car and got everything which is really sad,” said Deltrina Johnson.

A van filled with holiday presents for children in need is empty after it was ransacked in the Lakeshore neighborhood this week.

“It brought me to tears,” said Johnson.

The thief broke the lock to her van, stealing every toy inside. It happened just hours after Johnson had filled it with dozens of gifts. 

“I would think anybody who would go in and say ‘let me think about this, may this isn’t the car to rob’ but to see people I don’t want to say necessarily heartless but in such a state it made me really sad,” she said.

Johnson is the executive director at Oak Center Cultural Center. She preps the annual giveaway which normally helps around 300 families each year.  

Families that line up around the block to ensure something under the tree for their children.

“I grew up in New Orleans and my mother had seven kids, and we were in that line, someone gave to us and that’s why I do this,” said Johnson. “I remember as a child standing in line to get a little bag of goodies.”

Since the break-in, donations have been coming in, including from strangers like Mike who took a trunk full of toys that can help 40 more kids.

“They will steal anything now I guess,” said Mike. “It’s sad because I like kids. I don’t have any kids myself, I like to try to give back each year.”

But a week away from the big giveaway, Johnson still needs enough toys to help another 200 kids. A christmas wish she hopes the community will help her grant

“I’m just elated knowing that the response is going out,” said Johnson.

Anyone willing to help is asked to donate to the center directly.

Source: NBC Bay Area

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