By Charly SHELTON
Each year, the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s station takes part in the Annual Sheriff’s Toy and Food Drive. This program collects non-perishable foods and a variety of toys for children from infants to 12 years old. The items donated are then separated into bags, with toys chosen specifically for each child’s age and sex, to ensure that each gets the right toy.
Deputy Jorge Valdivia, CV Sheriff’s community officer, is the program’s organizer.
“It’s a program that Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station has done for over 20 years,” said Valdivia. “We adopt families from the foothill area and basically we provide toys for each child in that house, about three to four toys each. And each year we give a large crate, this year we’re doing three large bags of donated food, along with a $20 gift certificate to one of the local markets.”
The gifts and food donated to the program are distributed among many families in the local area.
“Currently we’ve got about 90 families on the list and we’re thinking it might go up to 120 families. We are still getting people calling, asking if they can be in the program,” he said.
The sheriff’s ability to fulfill the families’ needs depends entirely on the donations they receive.
“At this point, we can’t promise anymore but we can put them on the list and hopefully our local community will continue to provide us with some help with donation of toys and food so we can give,” Valdivia said.
Donations of any new, unopened toy and non-perishable food items can be dropped off at any of the donations barrels that can be found throughout the community.
“You can find them in the local markets, or the best way is here at the station,” Valdivia said. “We are open 24 hours a day, you can drop it off anytime.”
Although all donations are accepted and appreciated, “every year it gets down to the point where toys for kids ages 8 to 12 are our biggest thing. I just talked to a volunteer and they said … we are low on toys from 8-12 for boys and girls,” Valdivia said.
Toys for older kids can be sports equipment, like soccer balls or basketballs, or books – anything that would hold interest for older kids.
The delivery date for toys and food is Dec. 22. From now until then, volunteers from the station separate and bag the items for each family. On the day of delivery, volunteers from the station, including Sheriff Explorers, Volunteers on Patrol, CV Station Support Group and Montrose Search and Rescue, will take the gifts to the homes of the families in need.
The best time to donate would be by Dec. 19, Valdivia said, in order to give time for the deputies to sort and place the right toy with the right child.