Allen City Councilman and restaurant owner Baine Brooks got word there might not be enough toys for children at Christmas this year. He couldn't let that happen and called on the community. They stepped up in a big way. Brooks said the response from the Allen community has been overwhelming but should not come as a surprise.
“We went after 2,083 toys and this community has just responded in a way that you could never ever believe. Ever,” said Brooks.
It started when he got word that the Allen Community Outreach might not reach its goal for the Toys for Tots drive. He’d seen their work before, so helping was a no-brainer. Brooks was also motivated by his own childhood story.
“Allen community outreach helps bridge the gap for someone who is going through a hard time,” he said. “One of my biggest inspirations was I was a hungry kid.”
As a city council member and restaurant owner of Two Rows Classic Grill, he knew he had the platform and space. So, he and a friend got to work spreading the message, and it has been a steady response ever since. Toys piled up and lined the walls of the restaurant.
“If you want to see what Christmas is all about, come to Two Rows and look at all these toys,”
As a dad himself, Brooks knows the impact this will have on families who’ve fallen on hard times this year.
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“It would mean that I would have the opportunity to just give my girls something,” he said.
Brooks admits, as a restaurant owner, it’s been hard to ignore the pitfalls of COVID-19 and overall hardships.
“It’s been a tough year. It has,” said Brooks. “But closing out the year when you see all these toys that have been given by this community. Unbelievable.”
In addition to the toys donated at Two Rows, Brooks says a woman gave $50,000 to the cause as well. He said each child will likely to able to get more than one toy on Christmas day.
For more information on the Toys for Tots drive with Allen Community Outreach visit https://www.acocares.org/toys-for-tots/