Your guide to holiday drives including Boys & Girls Club and Toys for Tots

ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Here is your guide to events and donation drives happening this holiday season. You learn more about what’s happening around town on our Community Calendar.

DRIVES: New York State toy, coat, and school supplies drive (Until December 16)

The New York State annual holiday donation drive kicked off on December 1. Gov. Kathy Hochul announced the drive to collect new and unwrapped toys, coats, and school supplies for families in need.

There are drop-off locations across the state including at the New York State Police Building on 1155 Scottsville Road. Donations are accepted until Friday, December 16.

Toys for Tots: November 14 – December 16

The 5th Annual News10NBC Toys for Tots Holiday Drive is here. It’s also the 75th anniversary of the Toys for Tots program nationwide. The United States Marine Corps Reserve manages and distributes the toys to families in need during the holiday season. 

Last year, thanks to your generosity, we collected more than 77,000 toys, which was a new local record. That meant more than 39,000 local children in our area were able to receive toys and have a brighter holiday.

We are asking for new, unwrapped toys for newborns all the way up to age 16. They can be dropped off at local Quicklee’s stores. You can learn more and see a complete list of locations here.

  • Donate a toy from the comfort of your own home. From this link, you can select what you’d like to purchase, and pay for it. Toys get shipped directly to the local warehouse at no extra charge. 
  • Make a secure monetary donation right here. All of the money collected stays here at home and goes to purchasing toys for local kids.
  • Volunteers are also needed! Learn how here.

News10NBC interviewed Toys for Tots organizer Jason Tiefel on Monday, the opening day of the drive. He said the Salvation Army and other community organizations help to get the toys from the drop-off box into the hands of kids.

Boys and Girls Club of Rochester Toy Drive (Until December 17)

There are all kinds of opportunities to help children get presents this Christmas. For the first time since COVID, the toy drive at the Boys and Girls Club of Rochester is back in person. After years of drive-thru giveaways, the club is collecting toys and then Santa will hand them out to children Dec. 17.

“It will have a big impact. Sometimes this is the only gift they get,” said Koralee Bernardo, coordinator of Boys and Girls Club special events. “So that gives you an idea how important it is for us to continue the tradition. This is our 23rd year.”

This year, the oldest law firm in Rochester, Woods Oviatt Gillman, sponsored the Boys and Girls Club’s toy drive and donated $2,500.

“Oh my gosh, a lot of kids aren’t going to get toys other than through programs like this,” said Steve Tierney, partner at Wood, Oviatt, Gillman. “And this is kind of cliché but being able to provide toys for Christmas for kids. You get more of a reward out of that than the kids do themselves.”

Here are the locations where you can drop off a toy:

  • Boys and Girls Club on Genesee Street
  • Dick’s Sporting Good Store Marketplace
  • RDG+ Partners
  • Buffalo Wild Wings in Greece
  • Insero & Co.
  • Lewis Tree Service
  • Monroe County District Attorney’s Office
  • Power Management
  • Locust Hill Women’s Association
  • Team Hired
  • AT&T Stores
  • Wells Fargo
  • Corning Optics
  • Dr. Steven Damelio Dentistry
  • Monroe Community College Student Nurses Association

Red Cross Blood Drives: All November and December

The Rochester chapter of the American Red Cross is asking for people to donate blood this holiday season, a time when donations typically decrease.

The Red Cross says that busy holiday schedules and seasonal illnesses make it harder to collect blood during the holidays. All who come to give November 1-22 will receive a $10 e-gift card.

Some locations where you can donate in Monroe County include Rochester City Hall, Lakeview Community Church, Irondequoit Town Hall, and the Pittsford Library. You can see a complete list of locations and times across the region here.

EVENTS: Parkinson’s Documentary on Little Theater (December 1)

The Little Theatre on East Avenue is premiering a documentary focused on efforts to end Parkinson’s Disease. “The Long Road to Hope” was produced in part by the University of Rochester Medical Center.

The showing will also include a question & answer with Dr. Ray Dorsey, a professor of neurology at URMC. The screening is free and it starts at 7 p.m. You can learn more here.

ROC Holiday Village (December 2-23)

The fourth annual Roc Holiday Village at Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Park opens on Friday at 4 p.m. The winter village features vendors, ice staking, cozy fire pits, visits with Santa, and live music.

The 16-day festival runs from Wednesday through Sunday from December 2-13. Last year, the festival drew more than 100,000 people. We have a daily guide to Roc Holiday Village in this story.

Blue Friday for Goodwill of the Finger Lakes (December 2)

Goodwill of the Finger Lakes will host its first ever Blue Friday. All shoppers at area Goodwill stores will save 15% on their purchases on December 2.

The money from the purchases will go to Goodwill’s mission programs including the Suicide and Crisis Lifelines 988 and 211. It will also go to Goodwill Vision Enterprises to help visually impaired people and the Good Neighbor Program to work with local schools and non-profits to strengthen the community.

“Everyone wants to save a little bit of money whenever and wherever they can, especially this time of year,” said Jennifer Boutte, Goodwill of the Finger Lakes Vice President of Community Engagement. “There are so many promotions like Black Friday and Cyber Monday, so we thought we’d try ‘Blue Friday.’ We’ve had a lot of excitement about this day up until now and hope it’s a success so we can make ‘Blue Friday’ an annual promotion.”

Here is the list of Rochester-area Goodwill stores. You can check on hours here.

  • Goodwill Brockport – 1807 Nathaniel Poole Trail
  • Goodwill Geneseo – Geneseo Towne Plaza, 4119 Lakeville Rd
  • Goodwill Greece – Dewey Ave., 3654 Dewey Ave
  • Goodwill Henrietta – Jefferson Plaza, 376 Jefferson Road
  • Goodwill Macedon – 1635 North Wilson Road
  • Goodwill Rochester – 451 South Clinton Avenue
  • Goodwill Rochester Clearance Center – 1555 Jefferson Road
  • Goodwill Webster – 50 Webster Commons Blvd.
  • Goodwill Victor Eastview Mall – 34 Eastview Mall

Victor Jingle Mingle (December 3)

The Village of Victor is holding its Jingle Mingle on Saturday. The event includes a parade, tree lighting, DJ, visit with Santa, and Cookies & Coloring. It runs from 3-6 p.m. at Main Street in Victor.

Tickets are $15 in advance and $25 at the door. You can buy tickets here.

Holidays at the Market (December 4, 11, and 15)

Holidays at the Market, a Rochester tradition of 26 years, kicked off on Sunday. The Rochester Public Market featured dozens of holiday-focused small business vendors.

Despite all of this year’s challenges, small businesses and shoppers were eager to get out there and make the most of the holiday season.

“This is our first year in the market. We’re out of the Batavia area. We figured we want to try it and so far we will be back,” said Mark Williams, owner of V-Mark Woodcraft.

“We’ve been actually setting up for, like, the past year, looking at everything. And we’re being reasonably priced because we know how hard it is this holiday season,” said Julie of Homemaking Goods.

“It feels really festive. It’s very Christmasy here,” said Bella Rosa.

Holidays at the Market will be at the Public Market on Sunday, December 4 and 11, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursday, December 15 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m.

NYS School Music Association winter festival and conference (December 1-4)

The New York State School Music Association festival and winter conference is returning to Rochester.

The event will welcome 569 students across five ensembles. It also offers more than 200 professional development sessions for music teachers to help them promote equality and social-emotional learning.

The 2022 All State Festival and Winter Conference will run from December 1-4 at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center and the Eastman Theater. You can register for the conference here.

This year’s theme is “Connect, Belong and Create” and it will focus on rebuilding and rejuvenating music programs across the state post-pandemic.

Here’s the list of ensembles that will perform and their conductors:

  • All State Vocal Jazz Ensemble – John Stafford II, Kansas City Kansas Community College
  • All State Instrumental Jazz Ensemble – Julius Tolentino, Newark Academy
  • All State Mixed Chorus – Dr. Derrick Fox, University of Nebraska, Omaha
  • All State Symphonic Band – Dr. Thomas McCauley, John Cali School of Music, Montclair State University
  • All State Symphony Orchestra – Dr. James Allen Anderson, University of Delaware

The NYS School Music Association is the largest state affiliate of the National Association for Music Education. Its mission is to advance music education across New York State for its membership and students in member school programs.