The annual Toys for Yucaipa project in conjunction with Spark of Love will once again provide toys, sports equipment, and other Christmas gifts to the children and teens of the Yucaipa Valley. With the threat of the COVID-19 virus still active, the standard operating procedures will be adjusted for the current season.
Beginning Nov. 23, applications will be taken within the city of Yucaipa at the fire stations and the News Mirror office. Facial covering and social distancing rules will apply. Please bring a valid photo ID along with current proof of residency within the city.
Donation drop off locations will also be at the fire stations within the city as well as the News Mirror and other locations to be announced. Items in need are gifts for teenage girls and boys as well as sports equipment. No used items will be taken for the safety of the donors, the volunteers collecting the gifts, and of course, for the recipients.
“In the past, we have gratefully accepted the donations of gently used items that we can move on to the public,” said longtime co-organizer Brenda Martinez. “This year items need to be new and will be handled carefully as to prevent any possible spread of the virus or other illness.”
Yucaipa fire officials are assisting with the toy drive, as usual.
“With the schools still being closed we will not have the assistance of the high school students who have generously donated their time in the past to sort and bag the collected items,” said Capt. Travis Paye, Yucaipa Fire Station 2. “We will be relying on our reserve firefighters and others to help with the program.”
To provide some relief for those who are uncomfortable shopping for the gifts while the pandemic is still of concern, this year a GoFundMe account has been set up. After the purchase and bagging of the gifts, they will be handed out to applicants as in past years. The distribution date for approved applicants will be Dec. 19, at Yucaipa Fire Station 2.
“With 2020 handing us lots of challenges, we hope to address each one and provide a successful Christmas toy drive as we have since the mid-80s,” said Lenore Will, co-coordinator. “We appreciate everyone’s help to bring a smile to children in need!”
If you would like to make a monetary donation, and would like the GoFundMe link, please email Toysforyucaipa @gmail.com