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El Cerrito High grad, NBA player Drew Gooden holding toy drive for Richmond children

Drew Gooden may be a veteran poward forward with the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA, but he hasn’t forgotten his roots growing up in Richmond.
Gooden, a 1999 graduate at El Cerrito High School and star of the Gauchos team that won the Division III championship, is holding a first-ever toy drive through his nonprofit DG Foundation to benefit up to 500 children in Richmond.
The toy drive, being held in partnership with the city and Maurice Braxton, was first announced by Gooden on his Twitter account early last week and again later in the week in a press release.
“The recipients of the toy drive are already accounted for and will be distributed amongst children in the inner city of Richmond,” states the release. “Drew is very passionate about giving back and there’s no better place than home to do so.”
“There was no doubt when choosing who these gifts would go to,” the release quotes Gooden. “I grew up in the Richmond community and I want my foundation to be an outlet for the inner city youth”.
Toys will be distributed at a Dec. 23 event at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center, “spent a lot of time during his childhood learning the game of basketball.”
Already on board with support, among others, are Coldstone Creamery and Detroit Lions running back Jahvid Best, a Cal standout who played prep football at Salesian High in Richmond.
But more support is needed to make the event a success.
Gooden is appealing for donations of new unopened toys, tax-deductible cash donations, sites willing to allow a collection box, gift-wrapping materials and food and drink for the event.
“The foundation can still use donations for the cause, since it was newly established just this year,” the release notes. “With the help of supporters, we can maximize the amount of presents distributed to the city of Richmond and spread positive holiday cheer. During the event, there will be a Santa Claus, holiday music, Coldstone Creamery ice cream, and donated baked goods provided.”
One donation location that has already been arranged is the gymnasium at El Cerrito High on Dec. 15, when Gooden is sponsoring a high school basketball tournament of top teams from Northern and Southern California.
For more details on how to help, contact Melissa LaCorte at 925-305-1420 or MelissaLaCorte@TheDrewGooden.com, or visit www.TheDrewGooden.com.

Chris Treadway