SAGE Presents the 31st Annual Toys Party to Benefit SAGE and Children's Charities
Now in its 31st year, the Toys Party is one of the most talked-about LGBT holiday parties in New York City. Held at the popular Pier 60 at Chelsea Piers, the Toys Party will welcome over 2,500 LGBT community members and their allies to mix and mingle while listening to festive songs and enjoying this favorite holiday tradition.
All guests will bring an unwrapped toy. Toys will be distributed to the following charities: 9th Police Precinct Community Center, The Felix Organization, Ali Forney Center, Brooklyn ACE Integration Head Start, Camp Felix, God's Love We Deliver, Grace Baptist/Faith Mission, The Iris House and UWS Jericho Project/Brick Church.
For the second year in a row, Ketel One Vodka will serve as presenting liquor sponsor. Other sponsors include Airbnb, Uber, HBO, Norwegian Airlines, The Corcoran Group, Grey Advertising and The Florida Keys & Key West.
Robby Browne started the original Toys Party (known as "Toys for Tots" before the Marine Corps insisted the name be changed in 2010) in his apartment as a celebration to bring together his friends and people in the LGBT community a chance to provide holiday gifts to children. The holiday party started in 1985 and in 1986, he asked everyone to bring a gift for a needy child. He thought this would add something to the spirit of the season and the party. In 1987, Nick Poshkus joined forces with Robby to give the party.
They combined their lists to invite only gay men and required each guest to wear a name tag with first and last name so that the party would be an opportunity to meet someone outside of the gym, a bar or randomly. By asking everyone to bring a gift, all of the attendees thought of those less fortunate then they and were excited to be able to do something for children in need. There were virtually no gay parents at the time (the technology and the times were not like they are now) but the capability for love in everyone's heart was there and this was a wonderful way to express it.
People brought sleds, bicycles, Barbies and basketballs and everyone was proud of their gifts. Some people even brought boxes of toys and one year someone delivered three van loads. Dear friends gathered every year to hand address envelopes for the invitation and the party grew and grew. The recipients of the gifts represented a combination of organizations that the hosts knew. Many people met their longtime partners as a result of the happiness and love of giving.
The party is now quite large with over 2,500 people. SAGE was added to the holiday party in 2001 because getting older and needing help with food, blankets and transportation among other basics can be scarier than needing the same when you are young. The charity event has since blown into one of the hottest holiday parties for the LGBT community and provides thousands of gifts to a variety of charities as well as contributions to Services & Advocacy for GLBT Elders (SAGE).
All proceeds and ticket sales for the event go directly to SAGE (Services and Advocacy for GLBT Elders), the country's largest and oldest organization dedicated to improving the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) older adults.
Toys Party Benefiting SAGE will be held from 5-9 p.m. on Sunday, December 11 at Chelsea Piers, Pier 60. For more information, or for sponsorship opportunities and tickets, visit sageusa.org/toys.