Zumba instructor organizes toy drive for kids in need

Cardboard boxes overflowed with toys at the Mall at Wellington Green on Dec. 5. It was all part of the annual Zumba Toys for Tots event where participants could dance and donate to kids in need. 

Zumba instructor Regina Rossi-Lamothe hosted the Zumba Toys for Tots event. Rossi-Lamothe has been participating in the event for five years, but this was her first time hosting it herself.

“This would have been my two dear friends and Zumba instructors’ 10th anniversary hosting the Toys for Tots event, but unfortunately because of COVID-19, they could not due to health conditions,” Rossi-Lamothe said. 

The event took place in a community room called Live360 where Rossi-Lamothe has taught some of her Zumba dance classes. 

“I found out it reopened, and I wanted to keep the tradition going of the annual fundraiser, so I reached out to all of my friends,” Rossi-Lamothe said. 

The toys were picked up by the Marine Corps to distribute to families in need in West Palm Beach. 

“We had three Marines show up to our event, and they talked about how the toys go to local shelters, children in foster care, hospitals and families in need. Two of the Marines even danced with us,” Rossi-Lamothe said. 

In the past, the Zumba Toys for Tots event drew 80 to 100 people and collected at least six large boxes of toys, but because of COVID-19, the event had to be altered.

“We had to limit the amount of people participating on the floor to 10 instructors based on the CDC guidelines. We wanted to make the biggest impact with limited spots we had available,” Rossi-Lamothe said. 

However, COVID-19 did not deter people from donating and dancing. 

“This year we sold out at 30 participants, and we raised $350 thanks to ticket sales and raffle sales. We also collected three large overflowing boxes of toys, and more, since we didn’t have another box. It was truly a wonderful event,” Rossi-Lamothe said.