‘Amanda was a very giving person:’ Family of Pulse victim hosts memorial holiday toy drive

Amanda Alvear was among 49 victims who died in 2016 attack

ORLANDO, Fla. – Monday would have been the 32nd birthday of Amanda Alvear, who was killed in the shooting at Orlando’s Pulse nightclub in 2016.

The day falls 6 years and 6 months since 49 people were killed in the attack.

In her memory, Amanda Alvear’s mother now holds Amanda’s Angels Legacy of Love toy drive each year.

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“Amanda was a very giving person,” said her mother, Mayra Alvear. “She liked to spread joy during the Christmas time.”

Mayra Alvear said each year the event, which donates toys to the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, keeps growing. This year, she hopes to get 10,000 donations to help others and honor the lives of each Pulse victim with action.

“Their legacy is about love. It’s about unity. It’s about acceptance. It’s about tolerance,” Mayra Alvear said.. “It’s about respecting differences and being united as one as we should be.”

Ann Pimentel-Kerr, who works with the Howard Phillips Center for Children & Families, said the generosity of the community will make a difference for so many children this holiday season.

“Some of them don’t have anything and they’re coming from situations that have been quite traumatic,” Pimentel-Kerr said. “We really want to bring them joy this Christmas.”

Pimentel-Kerr said the Howard Phillips Center serves families in Central Florida with children with special needs, children who have been abused, and kids in need of healthcare and other services.

All items donated to the toy drive must be new and unused.

Wish list items include:

  • educational toys for children, 0 to 36 months
  • bikes with helmets
  • gift cards
  • craft supplies
  • books for toddlers and teens
  • LEGO kits and blocks
  • sporting equipment
  • movie tickets
  • nail polish/makeup kits
  • electric cars
  • dolls and doll clothes
  • journals and notebooks
  • pens
  • board games
  • UNO cards and playing cards
  • wrapping paper, tape & ribbon

Donations can be dropped off at The Center locations in Orlando, 942 N. Mills Ave., and Kissimmee, 17 W, Monument Ave.

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About the Author:

Catherine, born and raised in Central Florida, joined News 6 in April 2022.