Annual Thanksgiving Run kicks off community food/toy drives.
The annual Thanksgiving Day Run and Food Drive had runners and cheering supporters up early Thanksgiving morning.
The main race began at 8:30 a.m.; a kid’s mile began after. The Community Center of La Cañada Flintridge sponsored the event.
The route ran along Foothill Boulevard. The first person to cross the finish line was Conner Kamm.
“My time was 15:10,” he said. “I have run [a 5K] in the 14:20s before.”
Kamm is from Nashville, Tenn. He is visiting family in Encino. Several family members also ran the race.
The run that began at Memorial Park in La Cañada was also a fundraiser. Participants were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to the race as part of their entry. The tables were full of canned goods, ready to be donated to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station for distribution to local families in need.
“We have names of 90 families so far this year, but we are hoping to get to 120,” said Community Relations Deputy Jorge Valdivia. The sheriff’s station has been holding an annual collection drive for about 20 years.
In addition to food, the station collects toys that will also be distributed. Each year the sheriff’s station is given names of local families by community members, teachers, or church personnel who are contacted by volunteers with the station. Valdivia says that these families are “adopted” and are given specially chosen items from the donations. The goal is for each child to receive three to four gender specific toys, and each family to receive food and a $20 gift card to one of the local grocery stores.
Valdivia said that they have a received a large amount of food already and are now more focused on the need for toy collections.
“We need toys that are gender specific, and intended for children ages 12 and under,” he said. The deliveries of the gifts will start on Dec. 22, but the sheriff’s station will keep collecting until people stop giving. If the collections result in an excess amount of supplies, then often the toys will be held until the following year, or even more will be given out to families.
Donations are being collected at local schools, churches, the sheriff’s station at 4554 Briggs Ave. in La Crescenta, and community events and fundraisers. There are designated barrels located throughout the community, in La Crescenta and La Cañada.
Another local toy drive option is the ABC7 “Spark of Love” Toy Drive.
“Glendale Firefighters will be joining ABC7 for the 20th annual Spark of Love Toy Drive. This campaign collects new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for the underserved children in our community,” says Brandy Villanueva, the public information officer for the Glendale Fire Department.
Toys that are collected in Glendale fire stations will be distributed locally.
“Last year, the Spark of Love toy drive campaign collected close to 500,000 toys within the Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Orange, Ventura and Riverside counties,” Villanueva said.
To participate in the “Spark of Love” campaign, bring a new, unwrapped toy to any local fire station now until Dec. 24 or to a collection event.
One of the collection events will take place at the Glendale train station at 400 Cerritos Avenue at Railroad Avenue in Glendale. The Metrolink Holiday Toy Express train will arrive at the train station on Sunday, Dec. 9 at 5:45 p.m. to entertain members of the community. Glendale firefighters will be on-site to receive the donated, unwrapped toys.
Photos by Mary O’KEEFE