January 16th 2005 the Big Animals joined the long
standing tradition with Dr. Roy Springer and friends in going down
into Mexico to bring toys to thousands of poor underprivileged children.
This event was destined to be an adventure, and what an adventure
Picture a stream of a hundred plus exuberant young boys lining up
to receive a bag of gifts; next to them a long row of young girls
excited with what they might find; then there were families with
small children; and yet another line of parents lining up to receive
blankets. Then picture all these children and parents facing a large
crew of volunteers unloading bag after bag of toys from 11 trucks
full of 10 thousand toys and more. Wow! What a sight to see.
Now try to imagine wading into this crowed in big, thick, rather
warmish (it was 80 degrees outside) costumes, and having streams
of little kids rush towards you to get a hug from Mama Bear or Pooh
Bear. In a short period of time I alone must have hugged 500 or
more kids and parents, one after another. Along with our other two
Big Animals on the scene, Tele Tubby and Stripes the Tiger, we must
have doled out thousands of loving hugs and witnessed so many brilliant
smiles that it was overwhelming. Combine this image with the backdrop
of one of the poorest barrios of Tijuana, and you have a very memorable
Even getting there was an adventure in itself. One of our volunteers
offered to risk his RV on the wet and bumpy back roads of TJ. There
were a few times where we narrowly adverted getting stuck. Luckily
we came through with only a broken exhaust pipe, and one extremely
muddy vehicle. The Mexican Police escorted us through the towns
and into the barrios, and young children ran alongside our caravan
as we arrived; another unforgettable scene.
But the adventure is not over yet. After all that, we jumped in
the trucks and hauled off through more 4-wheel country to another
location. As we pulled into a big lot at the top of a hill we saw
hundreds more children and families all lined up to receive their
gifts. By the time we crossed the border back into the USA it was
over 11 hours from the early morning gift loading session in Miramar.
The Toys for Tijuana crew knows how to make a difference. And what
an amazing gift these people bring. The scope of this toy drive
is awesome! And the glowing smiles on literally thousands of faces
makes it all worth while. The Big Animals are honored to have been
a part in this event. And each and every one of our volunteers was
deeply moved by the experience.
President, Big Animals For Little Kids