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.