Celebrating the Season of Giving

File photos
Members of the Early Rodders gather outside La Cañada Fire Station 82 with station personnel after making a donation to the Spark of Love toy drive.


It is the season of giving and no one takes that to heart better than those in Crescenta Valley. Here are three ways to help others:

• Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Dept. and CV Station volunteers are collecting for their annual Food and Toy Drive. Barrels have already been placed throughout CV including at Ralphs grocery store and Crescenta Valley High School. For food, what are needed are non-perishable items, like canned goods, but what are really needed this year are toys. Items are donated to local families in need, including those in the Sunland-Tujunga areas. These families have children whose ages range from toddler to teenager. The new unwrapped toys, and food, can be donated at any of the bins around CV or brought to the CV Sheriff’s Station at 4554 Briggs Ave. Items can be dropped off as late as Dec. 14. Families who are in need, or those who would like to suggest a family that needs help, can call the CV Sheriff’s Station at (818) 248-3464 and ask for Dep. Alex Covian.

In the past, sheriff deputies would take sacks of food and toys to homes of the families; however, in recent years, the station has partnered with Los Angeles Parks and Recreation to host an event at the community room at CV Park, 3901 Dunsmore Ave. in La Crescenta. There each family is allowed to walk through the building’s courtyard, which has been set up with tables of toys, to pick out the toys they most want. Mrs. Claus will be on hand to help out. Groceries are also distributed at the park.

The event is on Dec. 15 and includes breakfast with Santa from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

• CHiPs for Kids is a toy drive sponsored by the California Highway Patrol. They are looking for new unwrapped toys for all ages that can be dropped off at the CHP station at 2130 N. Windsor Ave. in Altadena. Office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The last date for donations is Dec. 20.

• Spark of Love Toy Drive is the California firefighters’ outreach to help kids have a great holiday. As in years past, the fire department gets a lot of help from Early Rodders, the classic car enthusiasts who can be seen at several events around town including the CV Chamber of Commerce Hometown Country Fair. They can be found every Saturday morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. at the Regal Theater (formerly UA Theater), 1919 Verdugo Blvd. in La Cañada. For years, the Early Rodders have been a staple of this program.

At the community room of CV Park, Santa, Mrs. Claus and helpers will be on hand to greet guests and enjoy breakfast.

“This will be our 12th year of collecting unwrapped toys for Spark of Love toy drive for the California firefighters,” said Dwight Sityar, a member of Early Rodders. “It started when the Early Rodders car group connected with Fire Station 82 in La Cañada in 2006 by collecting toys at the United Artists movie theater every Saturday in the month of December [through Christmas].”

The Early Rodders packed up the toys into a vintage truck a week before Christmas and drove to LA County Fire Station 82.

“It was such a successful campaign of being able to collect three to six big boxes of toys. Last year, with the help of Jean Maluccio of the Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce, four fire trucks, plus a support of at least 25 hotrods and classic cars, served as escorts from Regal Theater to Fire Station 82. This year the Early Rodders, Crescenta Valley Weekly and Crescenta Valley Chamber of Commerce have teamed up to make this year a banner year for toy collection,” Sityar said.

Collection boxes have been placed at grocery stores, like Albertsons in Tujunga, and also at schools. Toys can also be dropped off at the theater on Saturday mornings when the Early Rodders are there.

On Dec. 22 at about 8:30 a.m., the Early Rodders will form a motorcade full of toys and will drive to Fire Station 82 to make their donation.

“This worthwhile cause is for the community to help out underprivileged children since this is the season of giving,” Sityar said.

• Prom Plus Club, Fire House youth center and St. Luke’s of the Mountains’ Sunday school kids are all working together to gather donations and provide drop-off at the Fire House, 2563 Foothill Blvd., on Tuesdays from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.