Gilroy Artist Plans a Merry Christmas for Migrant Children

I am very excited to get started,

she says.

I am so fortunate to live in a community that is so giving!

“I am very excited to get started,” she says. “I am so fortunate to live in a community that is so giving!”

So says Louise Shields who is fundraising around town for a special Christmas project. With her experience as a former social worker and childcare director, this local mom carries a particular burden in her heart for the needs of migrant and low-income children.

She also happens to be an Educational Consultant for Discovery Toys, a company known for making high-quality, educational toys that come with a lifetime guarantee. Discovery Toys spends no money on advertising, yet sales based on word of mouth alone have made the company successful enough to be billed as one of the top 10 toy companies in the U.S.

In order to choose the right educational toys for the children of Rodriquez Migrant Camp in Gilroy, Louise is working with the Gilroy Unified School District’s Department of Migrant Education. She will get the names and ages of each child who is living in some of the poorest conditions in our city.

“Why should only affluent children get quality toys for Christmas?” Louise asks as we sit in Sue’s Coffee Roasting Company on Fifth Street. “These toys promote learning, and they are designed to grow with the child.”

Shields enjoys giving demonstrations of the toys whenever she can. She likes to show people “just how fun these toys are. They are meant for parents and grandparents to enjoy with the kids as well.”

The last time Shields embarked on a community fundraiser, she raised over $1,000 in a mere 2 1/2 weeks just by asking people around town to donate. Discovery Toys rewards buyers with free toys based upon the amount that is purchased.

Shields will donate these towards the toy drive as well: “In the past fundraiser, we received an additional of $200 in free toys. With all profits going towards toys, I was able to purchase over $1,200 in toys for the kids!” Shields explains.

“This year I am hoping to raise $2,000 to buy Christmas gifts for migrant children. Please let people know that 100 percent of all proceeds go towards purchasing toys for the children. If we raise enough, we can purchase toys for children in other migrant camps in Gilroy as well.”

Shields will put the Christmas toy order in by the first week of December. When the toys arrive, she will make sure each toy is wrapped and ready for delivery to the right child. Husband Robert Shields plays Santa, helping get everything ready and making a special delivery of the gifts to the children.

For her previous efforts to improve conditions for low-income children, Shields has been recognized with a Community Service Award through the Gilroy Unified School District.

Shields is also a local artist who sells her unique handmade cards at Sue’s Coffee Roasting Company on Fifth Street. When a buyer for Whole Foods stopped in recently, she spotted the cards on display and ordered some of them to try in her store. Shields is thrilled that she will be the first northern California artist featured in the San Diego Whole Foods.

To learn more about Discovery Toys or to help give a merry Christmas to some of the most overlooked children of our community, contact Louise Shields through [email protected]

All toy donations are tax deductible.

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