Come rain or shine Friday morning, Dec. 22, Santa and his helpers from Miracle En El Barrio will be handing out thousands of toys to kids and young teens on Tucson’s Southside for their 21st annual Toy Giveaway Party.

This year’s toy drive success comes in part thanks to you, the KGUN 9 viewers, who helped make 2023 into a record year for Miracle En El Barrio’s toy and monetary donations, according to co-founder Steve Nunez.

Nunez says the extra cash donations will help provide gifts for young teens, who are included in the giveaway, but are at an age where they’ve outgrown a lot of the children’s toys that make up the bulk of items collected.

“Today is the big day to pick up toys from 16 partnering locations and then begin the process of sorting toys by age and gender,” Nunez shared with KGUN 9 staff Thursday. “I can tell you it’s been a record year for toy donations for usit’s been a blessing! I was able to use the cash donations almost exclusively on buying electronics and toys for teens to fill in the gap [for that age group].”

Nunez shared that as of two days before the drive he was still receiving donations at the NOVA Home Loan offices, and had the opportunity to meet and thank many KGUN 9 viewers in person.

Friday’s event will be the 21st Miracle En El Barrio for Nunez and co-founder Jon Volpe, who say it’s their own life experience that’s motivated them to keep up the toy drive for more than two decades now.

“We both know what it’s like to wake up Christmas morning and not have a toy,” Nunez told Pat Parris at the launch of our December Giving Project.

All are invited to the Toy Giveaway Party Friday, Dec. 22 from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at St. John’s Church, 602 W. Ajo Way.

In the event of rain, Nunez wants to reassure families there will be tents and umbrellas for cover while kids wait to meet Santa.