By Mary O’KEEFE
The Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Toy and Food Drive, sponsored and organized by the station’s volunteers, is off and running – literally – with help from the La Cañada Flintridge Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive.
“La Cañada [Run officials] contacted all the elementary schools and they all participated in food [donations],” said Deputy Jorge Valdivia.
Valdivia said due to that push for donations and the upcoming Thanksgiving run, the sheriff’s pantry is healthy.
“But we could always use more,” he said.
Each year the sheriff volunteers at the Crescenta Valley station place the now familiar donation barrels at grocery stores and businesses around La Crescenta and La Cañada. Those barrels were placed last week and the donations have already begun.
As the barrels fill with both food and toys, the volunteers gather them and begin separating and organizing the items to fit the family they will be delivered to.
“So far we have about 85 families,” Valdivia said. “Last year we delivered to 150 families.”
The group’s goal this year is to reach out to 125 families, which Valdivia thinks they will do and more than likely additional families will ask to be put on the list.
The deliveries are planned for Dec. 17. Volunteers, deputies, Sheriff Explorers, Montrose Search and Rescue members and more sheriff personnel, including Capt. Dave Silversparre, carry bags and bags of toys and food to the waiting patrol units and then deliver to families in need in the area.
“The families appreciate what they receive,” Valdivia said. “I have had families call me after the delivery to thank me [again] for what the station has done.”
The food donations have started strong and if tradition continues there will be quite a few toys donated as well, but Valdivia said they really need toys or items for boys and girls from 10 to 12 years old.
“That is a tough age,” he said. “It is easy to buy for the little kids but the older ones are difficult.”
In the past bicycles have been donated along with athletic equipment like footballs, soccer equipment and basketballs.
“Some small cosmetics for girls or fun jewelry,” Valdivia suggested.
Although the donations have started strong, there is always a need for more. Families continue to be added to the list of those in need and volunteers try to keep small surpluses for families that come in after the initial deliveries.
Families are found through the volunteers contacting local schools and churches. If anyone knows of a family, or is a family in need, they can contact Dep. Jorge Valdivia at (818) 236-4021.
The Thanksgiving Run and Food Drive is on Nov. 24 at 7 a.m. Runners are asked to bring a non-perishable food item as a donation.
For information visit http://thanksgivingdayrun2011.eventbrite.com or the
Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge at (818) 790-4353.
CV Sheriff’s Toy and Food Drive donation barrels can be found at Ralphs market in La Crescenta and La Cañada and in several other businesses in the La Crescenta and La Cañada areas. There is also a donation barrel at the CV Sheriff’s Station at 4554 N. Briggs Ave.