Lefty O'Douls Gears Up for Christmas Eve Toy Drive

Last year the restaurant on Union Square collected more than 10,000 toys for needy children.

Saturday, Dec 24, 2011  |  Updated 9:01 AM PDT
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The toys are distributed by firefighters and police officers.

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San Francisco's Lefty O'Doul's is gearing up for its 11th annual Christmas Eve toy drive, aimed at collecting toys for the city's neediest children.

San Francisco firefighters and police will be working with the landmark Union Square restaurant and bar to collect toys from 4:30 a.m. Saturday until last call at 2 a.m. on Christmas Day, said restaurant spokesman Lee Houskeeper.

Last year's event, which featured the popular "Santa" John Toomey, collected a record of more than 10,000 toys, and Houskeeper said the restaurant is hoping to collect 10,000 toys again.

The toys are distributed by firefighters and police officers who roam the streets on Christmas Day looking for homeless and needy children.

"By published reports there are 2,200 school aged children who are homeless," Houskeeper said. "Who better than the police officers and the firemen of this city who work with these people day in and day out to find them?"

Lefty O'Douls will have Christmas "elves" on the sidewalk at 333 Geary ready to collect drive-by toy donations. In addition, those unable to make it to Union Square can call Luxor Cab, and a taxi will come to collect any donations.

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