Shoppers and volunteers all made a difference this holiday season – and it’s not over yet.
By Mary O’KEEFE
The holidays seem to have rushed by, or in the case of Crescenta Valley of late, blown by. These are just some of the things that have been happening around town as everyone takes part in the holiday season.
It started with snow flurries on Honolulu Avenue with the Montrose Shopping Park Association trucking in snow to celebrate the kick-off of the holiday season. The new Christmas tree was lit, along with the traditional avenue lights. Shoppers came out the day after Thanksgiving and, as is the trend of the country, some merchants saw great improvement in revenue over years past, while others just a little better.
“My sense is it is maybe about the same or slightly better,” said Dale Dawson, executive director of the MSPA and owner of Mountain Rose Gifts.
He added the advantage this year is what is left of the holiday shopping season seems to have good weather predicted.
“Last year we were up against some heavy weather,” he said. “With [triennial] rains.”
There is no rain in the forecast for Christmas night, but the winds are back. The National Weather Service has placed a high wind warning from 4 a.m. this morning to 2 p.m. on Friday. Sustained winds will reportedly be from 25 to 40 miles per hour with gusts up to 65 miles per hour.
The winds should be gone by Friday night and a clear and warm 70 degrees is expected for Christmas day.
Since Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, Dawson is hopeful that the last few days will provide that final boost to get everyone in the black.
The horse-drawn trolley will continue to give shoppers free rides along Honolulu Avenue through Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. A jazz ensemble will play on Friday as well on the avenue.
“We are seeing a lot of foot traffic here,” Dawson said. “They just aren’t [purchasing] as much as they have in the past.”
And several of the stores, not only in the shopping park but along Foothill Boulevard as well, will be offering those special after Christmas deals on Dec. 26.
Crescenta Valley residents are known for their volunteerism and generous spirit that is emphasized during the holidays.
On Saturday, the CV Sheriff’s Station volunteers and staff delivered over 100 packages of toys and boxes of food to families in need from La Cañada to Sunland.
The annual CV Sheriff’s Toy and Food Drive is sponsored by the station’s volunteers and is a foothill tradition. They begin their collection of items shortly before Thanksgiving.
CV Weekly was invited to ride along with Deputy Eric Matejka, dispatcher Richard Engersbach and CV Sheriff Explorer Jeremiah Seidman. They threw bags of toys over their shoulders and carried boxes filled with canned goods to families and each family received a ham.
The uniformed Santas loaded their trucks and cars up around 7 a.m. and made their way to their designated families. They gave the food to the parents and the toys to sleepy children. At one home, the mom clapped her hands and cheered as the three walked up a long staircase to her apartment. Her two little boys showed great restraint as they eyed the bag of hidden toys and said, “Thank you” to the sheriff Santas.
Capt. Dave Silversparre joined in the deliveries and had 10 stops along his holiday route.
“I was honored to be part of the community’s effort to provide food and toys to the needy throughout the jurisdiction and surrounding areas. Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, with our dedicated Volunteer Program, helped approximately 150 families this year celebrate the holiday season in comfort with donated food and toys,” Silversparre said.
Toys were the big-ticket item for giving with the California Highway Patrol CHiPs for Kids program.
“We are accepting toys up through [today],” said CHP Officer Kevin Denmon.
The toys go to families in need at schools and distributed through non-profit organizations and churches.
“Any places where there children [are in need],” Denmon said.
The CHiPs for Kids’ barrels are at all Walgreen Pharmacies including the one at 3001 Foothill Blvd. Last year that Walgreens gathered more toys donated than any other in the area.
“And they did it again this year. I went there yesterday and got 150 toys,” Denmon said.
On Wednesday morning, after Santa stopped by Fremont Elementary School he dropped in at Crescenta Valley High School to see Morgan Thornbury (at right top). Santa remarkably resembles her father Todd. His traditional visit to the elementary school and later to whatever school the Thornbury children attend are all in honor of their late mother Laura.
Glendale Police and the Glendale Kiwanis are on a Santa team that brought presents to families in need in Glendale.
“We delivered to 19 families this year,” said CV Community Lead Officer Joe Allen.
Crescenta Valley residents have been busy this holiday season by supporting local businesses with their purchasing power and helping those in need throughout their community with their philanthropy.