Nothing puts the Christmas back in Christmas faster than giving toys to a needy child. Children who are hospitalized over the holidays, whose families have no money for presents, even adults in difficult situations--they can all be cheered by the contributions from the many toy drives in Southern California.
Most organizations request new, unwrapped toys. New, because it's difficult for one child to receive a new Cabbage Patch doll and her sister to receive a used Sorry game. Unwrapped, because it's easier to designate the appropriate child for the gift that way. This is just a sampling of the organizations that are seeking toys this holiday season. To find other nearby organizations, call the United Way.
Toys for Porterville, KABC (213) 557-5174, drop-off at Baskin-Robbins shops. This is KABC weatherman Dr. George Fischbeck's 14th year rounding up toys for the Porterville Developmental Center, where residents, both physically and mentally handicapped, range in age from infants to 70 years. New, unwrapped toys and gifts may be dropped off at any Baskin-Robbins store from Oceanside to Santa Barbara by Dec. 20. On Dec. 21, all the toys are brought to the television station and loaded onto a 45-foot truck for the trip to Porterville. All types of gifts are needed for a wide age range of patients: athletic equipment (such as footballs, fishing and camping gear), grooming aids (including purses, sunglasses, perfume, cosmetics), arts-and-crafts supplies, board games, popcorn poppers.
Ronald McDonald House, 4560 Fountain Ave., Hollywood, (213) 666-6400. This home-away-from-home serves families whose children are receiving hospital treatment for life-threatening diseases. New
TOYS: Gifts to Brighten Someone's Holiday toys for toddlers to late teens) are needed for the Christmas party Sunday. The party includes many families living away from home during the holidays so they can be near their child being treated. Toys are also needed for the Toy Closet, which provides toys to children year-round as they undergo difficult treatments. Arts-and-crafts supplies are also needed. Gifts may be dropped off at the facility from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Deadline is Dec. 24.
Volunteer Center Donor Services Warehouse, United Way, 1200 S. Vermont Ave., Los Angeles, (rear of the Red Cross building), (213) 389-1338. United Way welcomes new, unwrapped toys for toddler to teens. They will be donated to member agencies, such as the Indian Center, United Farm Workers, Girls Clubs, Boys Clubs and others. Donations may be brought to volunteers Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., or left with security guards at other times. Deadline is Tuesday.
Crippled Children's Society of Los Angeles, 7120 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 874-3300. Toys designated for this group may be dropped off at any Pizza Hut in Los Angeles, Orange or Riverside counties--and the good deed will earn you a $1 to $2 discount coupon on a pizza. All types of new, unwrapped toys are needed for children from toddlers to age 12, including stuffed animals, dolls, trucks, games and children's books. The society aids children at seven outpatient and day-care facilities in Southern California. Deadline is Dec. 24.
Salvation Army Los Angeles Day Care Center, 836 Stanford Ave., Los Angeles, (213) 623-9022. This center provides gifts for more than 600 children who live in the Skid Row area or whose parents work downtown and cannot afford any other child care. Two parties are held each December, one for the kids in the day-care program and another for the students at nearby 9th Street Elementary School in Skid Row. The need is for new, unwrapped gifts for ages 2 through 12, and should be brought to the center before Wednesday.
City of Hope Holiday Toy Drive, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte (818) 359-8111. Children here are undergoing treatment for diseases such as cancer, diabetes and leukemia. Some are hospitalized during Christmas or Hanukkah, others are involved in out-patient programs. The toy drive tries to provide gifts for all these children. There is also a need for gifts for adults as well as children for the patient holiday party on Tuesday. Toys in new or good condition are needed for children from infants through age 12. Gifts, such as sporting goods, cosmetics and crafts, are needed for teens and adults. They should be wrapped, tagged with a note identifying the contents and dropped off at the information desk near the Spirit of Life fountain. Deadline is Dec. 23.