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Good works on the picket line: Nia Vardalos holds toy drive

NiavardalosNia Vardalos knows toys. The “Big Fat Greek Wedding” star held a toy drive at Raleigh Studios — conducted with two dozen pickets on duty — this a.m. that yielded more than a dozen boxes of toys and food in its first 10 minutes.

Vardalos said she got the idea of a holding a toy drive among pickets a week ago and passed out fliers at Tuesday’s march on Hollywood Boulevard. New toys go to the L.A. Fire Department’s toy drive; used toys to Goodwill Industries and food is donated to the SOVA food bank.

“Every day that I’m on the picket line, I’m so impressed with the solidarity that we’re experiencing so this seemed like a good way to give something back,” she noted. “I’m not very good at lecturing and cajoling so this response is really gratifying.”

Vardalos gave a hug to actor Patton Oswalt, who voiced the lead character Remy in the Disney/Pixar hit “Ratatouille,” after he showed up with an unopened box of 30 “Ratatouille” DVDs.

“These arrived on Friday and really — what am I going to with all these DVDs?” Oswalt told Vardalos.

Vardalos has been picketing mostly around Paramount for the past three weeks.

“Each gate has its own personality; the Windsor gate is the noisiest and the Lemon Grove gate is a lot quieter — kind of the lounge,” she said.

— Dave McNary

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