The First News with Keeler in the Morning Toy Drive on WIBX is just a few weeks away and one part of the drive is an on-air auction with unique 'Utica Flavor' items that will generate cash to buy toys for local children in need.

Sam and Chendra Phou of the Lotus Garden, who recently visited the WIBX studio to demonstrate how to make sushi, made the first donation: a "Learn How to Make Sushi Party" which will be auctioned off in December as part of the Toy Drive.  The "Sushi Class" will be good for a party of up to 10 people and will be auctioned off to the highest bidder. Lotus Garden is

Lotus Garden Lobster Roll
The Lotus Garden Lobster Roll featuring a full steamed lobster. (Photo by Andrew Derminio / WIBX)

located at 1011 King Street in Utica, at the former Thornberry's location behind the Stanley Theatre.   [See Lotus Garden Menu]

The Lotus Garden features Asian cuisine:  Cambodian, Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, and Japanese.  It's the only restaurant

Sam of Lotus Garden making Sushi roll
Sam Phou of Utica's Lotus Garden shows the Keeler Show how to make a sushi roll. (Photo by Andrew Derminio ./ WIBX)

in the area that offers five ethic specialties under one roof.  Lotus Garden is open seven days a week and reservations can be made by calling 315-798-8897.

The WIBX Keeler in the Morning Toy Drive will kick-off at Utica's Christmas on Main Street on November 23rd at Utica's train station.  It will include the New York Sash Teddy Bear Toss with the Utica College Hockey team on December 7th and a 24-hour Toy Drive Marathon on December 13th and 14th.

All toys collected stay local and the drive works in unison with the Observer Dispatch's Operation Sunshine and Time Warner Cable's 'Toys for Kids' program.

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