Toy campaign underway

courtesy photo Director of Kids Fashion Week Network So-Cal Aubree Russell (left) and Owner Liz from Lidos Italian Restaurant, which is one of several in the city collecting toys for donations.

Both born and raised in Lemon Grove, Aubree Russell, Kids Fashion Week Network So-Cal director, and Liana LeBaron teamed with Lemon Grove Parents United in driving a multi-purpose toy drive to provide toys for families in need while directing people to local small businesses.

“This is an event for Lemon Grove,” said Russell. “We are currently partnering with 12 businesses in Lemon Grove. They all have boxes in their establishments. Two of them being Lidos Italian Foods and Nando’s Taco Shop that are also doing 10% off orders if you donate a toy. Every business we reached out to were happy, were excited, and said yes.”

Russell said it needs unwrapped toy for 0-18-year-olds, and LGPU and other businesses will locate local families in need. She said once they know how many toys they receive, that they will determine the families and distribute the week beginning Dec. 14.

Russell said she met LeBaron during her campaign for city council and they connected immediately. She said LeBaron’s love for the city is refreshing and was grateful to partner with her on this project.

“We are so very excited to unite our strengths and passionate Lemon Grove Natives and make this toy drive a success for the children of Lemon Grove,” said LeBaron.

There is a COVID safe drop-off event on Dec. 13, 1-3 p.m. at Treganza Heritage Park. Early drop-off locations at local Lemon Grove businesses.

Russel said it is a small event, with Nitro Monkey Coffee donating hot chocolate, SD Handmade Co. selling Christmas ornaments and masks, and Lemon Grove’s canine socialite La La the Fox, selling accessories for dogs.

“We know this year has been really hard on a lot of families. It has been hard on small businesses,” she said. “We figured combining the two and helping drive people to these small businesses, support them, provide a toy, it would be a better way to do this. We thought it would be cool to partner with people that have the same heart here. Banding people together to make Lemon Grove a better place is especially important right now. Hopefully, we will be giving out toys and being Santa Claus in our city,” Russell said.

For more information and participating businesses visit