On Dec. 7 from 4:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., the Camilla Day Spa, located at the Coral Square Mall, teamed up with Family Central to collect unwrapped, new toys for underprivileged children in South Florida. The event featured free food, music and complimentary beauty services to attract consumers and heighten awareness for the goals Family Central is trying to achieve. Incentives for consumers to donate included discounts, such as 20 percent off future appointments and a $60 gift card for only $40.
“We have a lot of children that are in need… a lot of them never even had any toys in their lives,” Camilla Day Spa owner Camilla Hoang said. “So, we are making a difference in their lives [by] bringing the holiday cheers and smiles to their faces.”
Family Central is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion of children’s success in South Florida by strengthening their social and emotional development. Their mission is to create “nurturing communities where children and families flourish,” according to their website. Some of their ongoing programs include the Child Care Food Program, Nurturing Parent Program and family support services.
“Our goal is to make sure that every child has an opportunity to do well, to reach their potential, to reach their dreams and not to be abused and neglected,” Family Central President and CEO Barbara Weinstein said.
The event at the Camilla Day Spa will serve as a contribution to an ongoing toy drive that several Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School organizations, such as band and National Honor Society, have been a part of as well. The toys will be delivered prior to Christmas day to give all children the opportunity to experience the joy and spirit of the holidays.
“Many of the children that we serve come from unimaginable situations: they have been sexually or physically abused [or] they are living in homes with serious domestic violence; we have families where there is no food in the house or they don’t have a bed to sleep in,” Weinstein said.
Family Central hopes that, by donating toys, they will be able to provide a little bit of support and happiness into the lives of children who experience the hardships created by poverty and abuse.
This year, the Camilla Day Spa collected about 150 toys within the span of the three-hour function. According to Hoang, their program has been growing immensely over the past few years—this being their fifth annual toy drive event.
“We were so blown away by the turnout of the event and even more excited by the large amount of toys we collected for our toy drive,” Camilla Day Spa employee Kevin Doan said. “It’s important to spread the holiday cheer, and we really felt that we made a difference in our community [by] giving toys to children who may have never had a toy in their life.”
The staff were encouraged to wear white semi-formal attire instead of their typical uniform as a way of demonstrating their support of Family Central and symbolizing purity.
This initiative ties in to its central goal of fostering success in these kids who have been held back by circumstance by instilling a positive attitude and outlook on the world.