By: Matt Kiernan

December 12, 2014

STAMFORD — Christmas came early this year for children of the Boys & Girls Club on Wednesday when NBCUniversal presented them with gifts answering their holiday wish lists.

Ten children ages 6-12 visited the media company’s Atlantic Street studios to pick up about 100 toys that will bring joy to 40 boys and girls leading up to Dec. 25.

“Part of our holiday tradition is giving back to the community,” said Vinnie Fusco, production executive at NBCUniversal.

Walking into the company’s lobby, children’s eyes lit up as they rushed a table covered in everything from nutcrackers to “Star Wars” toys.

For children such as 9-year-old Amir McIntosh, the event was a dream come true.

McIntosh said he had hopes of receiving a Nerf gun this Christmas and was glad to see more than one waiting for him at NBCUniversal.

“It’s important that they get to have a merry Christmas and enjoy themselves during this time of year,” said Mike Cotela, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford.

Cotela said children of the Boys & Girls Club submitted wish lists containing up to two toy requests. Vinnie - Toy Drive

Employees of NBCUniversal and the company purchased the gifts, which will be wrapped and officially given to the children this week.

According to Cotela, there is a significant demand for toys this Christmas as some parents need to cut back on spending due to the economy.

“For some of these kids, this could be the best Christmas present that they get,” Cotela said.

The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford — which serves approximately 300 children each day — is a great and “phenomenal” organization, Fusco said.

Cotela said his club has partnered with NBCUniversal and NBC Sports in the past for events, and that they are a natural fit.

“We’re so happy to be working with the Boys & Girls Club,” Fusco said.

Cotela said he was proud of NBCUniversal for its generosity.

As some children’s services have shut down in recent years, Cotela said more people are donating to the Boys & Girls Club in recognition of the demand for gifts.

“It’s people giving from the heart,” he said.

The Boys & Girls Club of Stamford has provided school activities and youth development services to local children since 1927.

It serves more than 1,000 children ages 6-18 to inspire a sense of belonging, competence and usefulness in students in the community, according to the organization’s website.

“We strive to achieve our mission by the offering of facilities, programs and support systems that assist young people in their academic, social, athletic and cultural pursuits. Our formula for impact focuses on children’s academic success, good character, citizenship and healthy lifestyles,” according to the website.

The club’s programming targets the areas of leadership development, education, career development, character, health and life skills, the arts, fitness, sports and recreation.

For more information about the Boys & Girls Club of Stamford at 347 Stillwater Ave., or call (203) 324-0594.