SFFD asks for help collecting ethnic dolls for toy drive

With the holidays just weeks away, it is crunch time for holiday toy drives, including the San Francisco Firefighters Toy Program that is launching an "ethnic doll drive."

This year, program organizers are asking for donations this year that are more reflective of the racially diverse children who will receive them.

Toys are being organized at the firefighters toy program. All the balls, games and dolls are being put in their age appropriate categories.

"Right now, we have a good supply of toys, but we definitely need more toys, because these will run out in a week and a half," said program organizer Jill Peeler.

And there's something missing among the dolls.

"We have white dolls. And we're looking for some dolls that have some ethnicity to them," said Peeler.

The toys are going to a population that's more than 80 percent minority.

"The African American Art and Cultural Complex in the Fillmore has a big holiday party for over 800 kids. And we supply the toys for that. I've had to give them white dolls," said a frustrated Peeler.

This year, the toy program has an ethnic doll drive, named for Peeler's daughter, Monique.

"My daughter is half African-American and half Caucasian," she said.

There are about 50 ethnic dolls that have been collected so far. But as if to emphasize the point, one Barbie in a box has strong ethnic features. But if you look closely, you can see the packaging has a picture of Barbie with blond hair and blue eyes.

"Every child deserves to have a doll that they can relate to," said Peeler.

On this day, parents filed through to pick up toys. Two mothers said they want toys that are more fitting for their kids.

"Me growing up playing with Barbie dolls, all I had was white Barbie dolls. So, when I got older, I was like, 'Where's my colored Barbie doll?' You know?" exclaimed an African-American San Francisco resident.

"For me, I would like to let them learn more about different cultures. That is one of my main points," added an Asian-American mother from San Francisco.

We did go to a Bay Area Target store to see the doll collection. And while white dolls are the majority, the store has a good mix of ethnic dolls.

Organizers are hoping people will drop off ethnic dolls at any fire station, or make a donation to the toy program's website.

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