Lines were long at the Zubi Supermarket in Little Haiti, but they weren’t for groceries. On Wednesday, the small mom-and-pop store collaborated with the city of Miami’s police department and local Neighborhood Enforcement Team for a toy drive.
Ernie Perez, the son of Cuban immigrants, is now running the market after his parents retired this year. He said he wanted to do this for a community that has done so much for him and his family.
“My parents have been living in this neighborhood and operating this supermarket for 19 years,” Perez said. “This community comes and shops from us every single day and we wanted to do something to show them how much we appreciate them.”
The toys were donated by the market, other local businesses and the Miami Police Department. More than 1,000 toys were distributed to about 500 children in the neighborhood.
Evelin Jolon, who was standing in line with her two kids and three nieces, won a bike for the girls.
“Their family just moved here from California,” Jolon said. “They left everything behind and now, at least, they will have this one toy for Christmas.”
Gary Lafalle, the NET Administrator for Little Haiti, said the toy drive was organized through a collaboration of the private and city sector.
“I’m very happy to be here and give some holiday cheer,” Lafalle said. “Every child always wants to get something for Christmas and sometimes the family doesn’t have the means to do it. We all got together to do this and wanted to make sure the kids felt special.”
Follow @cportjournalist on Twitter