Irene Feldman and her husband provide toys for needy children during the holidays

Coconut Creek resident Irene Feldman had no idea that a trip to the cardiologist would lead to 10 years of generosity. Every holiday season since that visit a decade ago, Feldman has donated toys to needy children through the Fort Lauderdale-based Children’s Aid Club.

“There was a sign on the door [from the Children’s Aid Club] at the cardiologist’s office that said toys would be appreciated for needy kids, and that’s all I had to see,” Feldman says. “I went to Walmart and filled up two bags of toys, and, from then on, it’s been a tradition for me and my husband.”

Helping children always has been important to Feldman. As a teacher in the South Bronx for 25 years, she used to buy everything from pencils and paper to winter coats and gloves for her students.

“I grew up in the South Bronx very poor. I’m lucky I had anything to play with, so I know what it’s like,” Feldman says. “Every kid should get something to open during the holidays.”

The Feldmans have spent between $8,000 and $10,000 on toys since they began donating, including $1,200 last year. They now rent a storage space every year to accommodate everything they buy.

“I shop from the week before Christmas until October [of the following year], and I fill up a locker from floor to ceiling,” Feldman says. “Last year, 40 families got my toys, so, for 40 families, there’s maybe three to four kids in a family. I try to pick out for boys and girls … and games that children can play together.”

Though Feldman’s generosity has inspired some of her friends to donate, the majority of the gifts come from the Feldmans. Irene says the staff at the Children’s Aid Club and the families they serve are always grateful for the help.

They have even dubbed her the “Angel of Coconut Creek.”

“I get the most beautiful cards from the counselors and the members [thanking us for donating], so it’s something that gives us great joy,” Feldman says. “If everyone would just open their hearts and once a year buy one toy, they would make a lot of kids happy.”

For information on how to donate toys for the holidays, contact Feldman at 954.977.9795 or visit childrensaidclub.com.