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Archived News Release from 2003

For Immediate Release

With "Down" Economy, Redwood City PAL, Police, and Fire Seek More Help With 2003 Toy and Book Drive

Redwood City, CA - November 21, 2002 - The holiday season should be a time of joy, happiness, family, and friendship. Unfortunately, there are local kids and families in need who often don’t have the opportunity to share in the spirit of the holidays. And, with the economic situation today, donations and contributions to charitable causes are not at the levels of past years. So it’s even more important than ever for people and businesses to help others enjoy the holiday season.

For over 15 years, the Redwood City Police Activities League (PAL) Christmas Toy and Book Drive has brought the holiday spirit right to the doorstep of many needy families. In conjunction with the Police Officers Association and Firefighters Association, and with a great deal of help from the Fair Oaks Community Center and a corps of volunteers, this annual event has become a welcome tradition in Redwood City. It will continue to be successful, with the help of more volunteers, with donations of toys, books, and funds, and with the hard work of the dedicated coordinators of the program.

Over the years, the program has grown dramatically and enjoyed great success – just last year, 50 local businesses filled 80 donation barrels with 11,000 toys, and provided them to about 500 needy families. Deliveries even take place with Santa Claus in a police car or a fire engine arriving at the home to hand out the presents, giving the kids a holiday thrill they’ll long remember (they quickly get over the fact that Santa didn’t come down the chimney!). One thing that makes this program special is the collection and distribution of new and gently used books as well as toys. Each child served receives two gifts, a book, a stuffed animal, and several stocking stuffers, all of which bring that holiday sparkle to their eyes.

It’s the volunteers and donations that make this event happen each year. Businesses are asked to place donation barrels at their sites; individuals and families are encouraged to donate new, unwrapped toys and books; and volunteers are asked for their time and energy for ‘wrapping parties’ where everyone takes part in preparing the gifts for the kids, from gift wrapping, to ‘quality control,’ to helping with food and drinks.

Two wrapping parties are scheduled: Thursday, December 11 and Monday, December 15, both at 6:00 pm, at 430 Broadway (The old Excite at Home building.) Drop-in volunteers are welcome. Volunteers are also needed to pick up food, toys, and books, put together family packages, load up Santa’s ‘sleigh,’ actually help with home delivery, and more. This is a great opportunity to help bring a smile to a child's holiday season.

Donations of toys and books may be made at any collection barrel, or at City Hall, the Police Department, the Main Library, or any fire station.

Equally important are the volunteer efforts and contributions of people and businesses in our community. Individuals that would like to make a monetary donation, businesses that would like a collection barrel, or anyone wishing more information may contact Officer Rasmussen at the number above.

Visit Redwood City’s website at www.redwoodcity.org for information about the City and its services, the community, recreation programs, education, and City government. The Redwood City Police Department website is www.redwoodcity.org/police.

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Contact:
Officer Chris Rasmussen
Redwood City Police Department
(650) 780-7105

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