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Sullivan State Farm collecting toys for Alexander's Toy Drive

December 7, 2018
By MEGHAN BRADBURY ( , Cape Coral Daily Breeze

Sullivan State Farm, for the second year, is helping a local charity this holiday season by collecting toys for children who are 6 years old.

Alexander's Toy Drive began in 2013 after Rachel and Ryan Gentile lost their infant son, Alexander, in an accidental drowning on Dec. 14 of that year. The family decided to donate all of Alexander's toys to a little boy that age. That tradition has carried on every year since.

Each year the family collects toys for children of the age their son would have been.

"Alexander would have been 6 years old this year," State Farm agent Dawn Sullivan said. "This year they are collecting toys for (children who are) 6 years old. It was a huge tragedy for them, but they are turning it into something a little more positive. This is a big cause for that family. Anything that we can do to make this less difficult for them is always rewarding."

She said Alexander was a relative to one of their team members, Jeannette Mora. Her son, Ely, plays baseball with Alexander's brother Dominque.

Mora made the Sullivan State Farm team aware of the toy drive.

"This one in particular hit home because of the relationship between Jeannette and Alexander's mom," Sullivan said. "We have always done toy drives both as State Farm and part of the community. We decided to take it on. They are policy holders and friends of one of our team members."

Last year was the first year Sullivan State Farm participated in the toy drive, which she said they will continue to do every year.

"We decided to join forces with them last year. It went really well. We ended up donating quite a few toys. This year we decided to market it a little bit differently," Sullivan said.

Sullivan State Farm, 2708 Santa Barbara Blvd., Suite 120, in Cape Coral will collect new, unwrapped toys and gifts through Dec. 16, to benefit Alexander's Toy Drive, which is in conjunction with the Cape Coral Police Department.

Those who wish to donate to the cause can drop off toys during Sullivan State Farm's business hours. Some of the toys they hope to collect include arts and crafts supplies; bikes; scooters; skateboards; board games; cards; puzzles; books; journals; action figures; gift cards; headphones; speakers; Lego sets; movie and theme park tickets; musical instruments; new or refurbished electronic remote control vehicles or drones; sports equipment and video games.

"The mom is very actively involved in this drive. She personally comes to the office to pick up the items, so the team members get a chance to see her and meet her and support her through this crisis. It is part of what we do on a daily basis, it brings it home for us," Sullivan said.

Those toys will be donated to the Cape Coral Police Department in Alexander's name. Sullivan said they distribute the toys accordingly.

"We consider ourselves as a family driven agency. For our agency there are a lot of opportunities for people to give, but you don't always see where those gifts go. For us it was more of a personal connection because we do have one of our team members who is intimately involved with the family," Sullivan said. "My husband and I both own separate agencies. This allows us to be more local. A lot of what we do focuses specifically on the community itself and the individuals in the community. Anything we can do to make a small difference in someone's lives that lives in the Cape and in our community we try to get involved in."



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