Santa Claus joined Sheriff's Department representatives and volunteer elves, as the doors opened to the 2008 "Toy Store", where toys and other gifts were distributed to less fortunate families from throughout the Santa Clarita Valley.
The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff Station's "Toy Store" concept is unique, in that it offers less fortunate parents the opportunity to be directly involved with "shopping" for their children's toys, rather than just being given a toy. The idea was developed five years ago and has proved to be a great success, allowing these families to directly take part in the true holiday spirit of giving. This concept also offers the parents the flexibility of choosing an age appropriate toy.
This year's "Toy Store" effort began several months ago when vouchers were issued to virtually every school in the Santa Clarita Valley. The vouchers were then given to families who were determined to be in need this holiday season. The families brought their voucher to the "Toy Store" in the days leading up to the holidays, where they were able to "shop" for a gift, have their children visit Santa Claus and then watch as Santa's helpers secretly wrapped the gift to be given to the children on Christmas day.
Several residents, businesses, volunteer organizations, and most school districts in the Santa Clarita Valley donated toys, bicycles, gift cards, money, wrapping paper and time to make the "Toy Store" possible and bring the true spirit of the holidays to those who are less fortunate in the community this year.
More than 450 families and 1,250 children visited the "Toy Store," prompting officials to call it a huge success. Throughout the Toy Drive, thousands of toys and gifts are collected and later distributed to families in need through the Toy Store.
"Nothing makes you feel better than helping those in need during the holiday season," said Captain Anthony La Berge. "We are very grateful to all those in the community who make the Toy Store possible year after year."
The College of the Canyons allowed the Sheriff's Department to use their facilities for this year's store.