Toy Drives: It’s Not Too Late!

Here’s my favorite personal Christmas story: One year when I was very young, I got a package of cheap off-brand glow-in-the-dark action figures. They had no faces and chintzy vinyl capes. For reasons I still can’t explain, I loved these guys — I played with them until their capes frayed and their joints (I think there was a grand total of, like, four on each figure) loosened.

Years later, when I was out of college, my single mom mentioned to me that her hardest Christmas was the one where she had just lost her job and was forced to go on welfare. She hadn’t been able to afford Christmas presents for me, so as soon as she got her first welfare check she went directly to the toy store and made the entire thing stretch as far as she could. That was the year she got me the glow-in-the-dark action figures. I don’t think she ever knew that I loved them so much.

So why am I telling you this? Because there are still plenty of kids out there whose parents can’t even afford the cheapest plastic aliens, and that’s where we come in. There are tons of toy drives and holiday charity events going on all around LA; here are the two I’ve heard about in the past week or so.

Spark of Love. Run by the LAFD, the Spark of Love toy drive collects new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment at every fire station in Los Angeles. Click here to find your local firehouse.

Season of Giving.
This is a series of events, all of which take place at LA Live. Each night spotlights a different local charity.

What other toy drives are going on in town? Share yours in the comments.

7 thoughts on “Toy Drives: It’s Not Too Late!”

  1. I think the CHiPs For Kids Toy Drive is continuing through December 24 with drop-off points at various malls.

  2. Yes, the BF & I were just talking last night about how we should do something charitable this year.

    As I type that, it sounds so bourgie: “Saaaay, Buffy, howabout we do something charitable this year, mmm?” Jeez.

  3. For those who might be interested in donating toys year-round, Childrens Hospital Los Angeles can use some help. The hospital distributes 70,000 toys annually and usually receives 90% of the entire year’s supply in December. This year, only 35% of that allotment has come in. Christmas is covered, though scaled back for outpatients, but there is a lot of ground to make up. Any donations of unopened new toys in original packaging can be taken to the Information Desk through the front entrance.

    As an added note, close to 80% of the children served by CHLA are from families with extremely limited means. Some do not even have toys at home. You can read more about donating here:

  4. Thank you for pointing this out. I’m sure there are a number of people that can and are willing to donate toys but forget or are unmotivated to do it. This serves as a great reminder for all those people. Hopefully lots of people will be reminded in some way that lots of kids are not as fortunate and will not be experience the Christmas they deserve.

    -Maurizio Maranghi

  5. My son and I dropped off a box of toys at Fire Station 29 today. It was just re-gifts, things he’d been given that we never opened for various reasons. We can’t afford to do any more than that, but the firemen were SO grateful. They said donations are way down this year. They’re still accepting donations on Christmas Eve, so if anyone has anything extra, please consider it.

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