By Mary O’KEEFE
For the past 26 years the staff, volunteers and deputies of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station have placed donation bins throughout La Crescenta and La Cañada to collect toys and food for those in need.
“We served [about] 120 families in the Montrose, Glendale, La Crescenta, Tujunga and Sunland areas,” said Sgt. Cynthia Gonzales of last year’s donation event.
They also had families from Van Nuys and Burbank that needed help as well.
The station personnel have reached out to local schools and churches to offer help and on Dec. 19 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. they will distribute the items to families at Crescenta Valley Park.
In years past CV Station personnel would get a list of families in need and take bags of food and toys to them. Last year the sheriffs partnered with the Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation to host a holiday party serving breakfast and including a visit from Santa.
“It [takes place] in and out of the CV Park [community room],” Gonzales said.
Outside there are tables set up with toys for children. They can choose their own age appropriate toy.
The food and toys are not just given to families in need but to the families of fallen officers, as well as local foster families.
The food collected is also shared with shelters in the area and with the Fire House youth center.
Each year the number of those who need help increases and the sheriff personnel and volunteers work diligently to fill enough grocery bags for all and provide enough toys.
“We need food, non-perishable items like pasta, pasta sauces, cereal and soups,” Gonzales suggested. Toys for kids from infants to early teens are needed, but especially those for teenagers.
“Teens want electronics but we just can’t accommodate that because they are too expensive,” she said. “But for girls, make-up is always good. And backpacks or board games.”
Other popular toys include skateboards, footballs, soccer and any kind of sports equipment.
The bins can be found throughout the La Crescenta and La Cañada area including grocery stores like Ralphs and schools like Crescenta Valley High School.
“It is great,” Gonzales said of last year’s CV Park party. “I think everyone was pleasantly surprised at how it went. And the people were so appreciative and so patient because they did have to wait in line.”
Anyone who may be a family in need or know someone who needs support over the holidays is asked to contact Sgt. Cynthia Gonzales at the CV Sheriff’s Station (818) 248-3464.