Annual tradition grows with community's contributions – and needs.
The Santa Clarita Sheriff’s station has been quite busy lately, not with arrests and traffic stops, but with wrapping and packing and collecting and readying for a holiday tradition.
The 2008 Sheriff’s Toy Drive kicked off two weeks ago at Power Honda, where one of three collection boxes were stationed, along with the lobby of KHTS AM1220 and the sheriff’s station itself.
The boxes soon became full and donations came from other sources, including
Center , which brought over hundreds of toys from its medical center staff and patients. The toys soon filled what will become a “toy store” of sorts Saturday and Sunday where low-income and needy families will be able to “shop” for gifts for their children.
“We’ve easily collected five or six thousand toys,” said Sgt. Gregg Lewison, who works in Community Relations at the Santa Clarita station. “It looks like we did as well as last year (with donations). Even though the economy is down, the community stepped up and contributed. There are a lot of children who are going to have a nice holiday.”
The toy store is located in the cafeteria at College of the Canyons, where Friday night, more than 100 families served by the Michael Hoefflin Foundation for Children’s Cancer had a party and received gifts. During the weekend, families screened at community organizations such as the Food Pantry, the Boys and Girls Club and LA County Social Services will come to the college and, while children visit with Santa or play in a waiting area, parents will be able to select a gift for each child.
A nominal donation of $1 per gift was established to cover costs of the store, which has grown by leaps and bounds through the several years of operation.
“It is very humbling to see how generous people can be and how happy the kids are,” Lewison continued. “We’re proud to be able to do this.”