Señora Martha Landron hosts toy drive for impoverished Colombian children

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Photo Courtesy Martha Landron

This photo shows Ezequiel giving the Colombian children their toys in 2015.

Morgan Felt , Staff Writer

IB Spanish teacher Señora Martha Landron is holding a toy drive for Colombian children and will be collecting toys for children ages 7-11 that cost around $5 in room 113 until Friday, Dec. 9. Additionally, this drive is a requirement for all members of National Spanish Honor Society.

One of the reasons Landron feels so passionately about this is because of her childhood in Colombia.

“I grew up in a really poor neighborhood with seven siblings and my parents could never afford to buy me a gift for christmas and one day my aunt got me a little doll, and that doll was the only present I had ever received,” she said. “I loved that doll , and since that time I had grew up thinking I don’t want other children to feel the way I did.”

After childhood, she moved to the United States in 2001 when she was more financially stable and then became a teacher at Robinson. She has been doing this toy drive for six years and every year she receives more and more toys. In 2015, the total was around 100.

“Although the amount of toys we’ve been receiving has been increasing over the years, so has the number of children that go home each year without gifts,” she said. “Each year more and more children come out, especially children that are between 7 and 11 years old, and I feel so bad when we can’t give all of them toys, because I know how that felt when I was a kid.”

This drive specifically benefits some of the most impoverished children, typically being raised by single mothers in Colombia.

“I really wanted these toys to go to the kids that needed them most, the really poor kids that live down by the river and can’t go to school, in fact when people go there they have to be escorted by police because it is so dangerous, these places,” she said.

This year, Landron is partnering with a man with disabilities who runs an organization called “Los Niños de la Calle” (the children in the street) who also lived in Colombia as a child.

“This man, his name is Ezequiel, and he runs the organization “Los Niños de la Calle” he lived on the streets in Colombia and he had nothing he was homeless, but he moved to the United States and became successful and now he visits Colombia and gives back to his community because he was once in their shoes.”

Landron noted that there are a multitude of charities and churches in the United States that have these fundraisers for poor American children, but in Colombia there is nothing because there is so much poverty and a lack of people willing to help.

“I know how beautiful it is when these children receive their gifts, it may be the only one they receive in their lifetime and to see that smile, it is so rewarding,” she said. “They always are going to remember us, just like how I [never] forgot the only doll that I ever had and who gave it to me, these children will be so grateful.”

If you would like to donate, Landron will be collecting toys until Friday, Dec. 9th in room 113 and she would like gifts for children between 7-11 years old that cost around $5. She hosts the drive every year.