By SARAH SHMERLING | Editor-in-Chief
Palisadians looking for a way to give back this year have ample chances through an assortment of locally based holiday-time toy drives that are now accepting donations.
Gelson’s customers are able to donate toys for children in need through the company’s annual drive, which is accepting donations through December 20.
“We felt it was especially important to keep the tradition of the annual toy drive alive this year,” said Gelson’s CEO and President Rob McDougall in a statement. “We have a long history of customer service extending beyond our stores and into the community. As we enter our 70th year in business in 2021, we look forward to continuing to work with our nonprofit partners—and we are grateful for the generosity of our customers.”
Toys donated at the Pacific Palisades Gelson’s will benefit Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Additional returning partner organizations for this year’s drive are Barbara Sinatra’s Children’s Center and Toys for Tots. Joining for the first time in 2020 are Promises 2 Kids, Miracles for Kids and Miller Children’s & Women’s Hospital, Long Beach.
A list of suggested donations is available at the store’s front desk and gelsons.com.
Palisades Charter High School’s Gender Equity Alliance is hosting a toy drive for Alexandria House, a transitional home for women and children in East Los Angeles. The nonprofit organization provides shelter, education, job training, rehabilitation and other support services for its residents—many of whom have escaped abusive situations and poverty.
GEA Co-President Milly Hopkins said Alexandria House “create[s] homes and lives where these people would have none, and [it’s] breaking these multigenerational vicious cycles of gender violence and poverty and racial divides.”
According to its flyer, Alexandria House is asking for “toys that are all-inclusive, multicultural and defy gender norms.” In addition, they are seeking toys that do not “promote military, war or violence.”
For GEA Co-President Erika Gedgaudas, the club is hoping its drive will “help these kids to have a normal holiday season—as normal as it can be.”
Individuals may donate unwrapped gifts to a drop-off bin outside the Pali High campus by the A building through Thursday, December 17.
In response to the ongoing pandemic, Self-Realization Fellowship Lake Shrine has altered how donations are being accepted for its annual tradition of providing holiday gifts to foster children and teens.
“There are two ways to participate in our program this year,” organizers shared in a flyer. “By donating towards the purchase of gifts cards; and purchasing a gift a child has requested from a dedicated Amazon Wish List that has been created.”
Lake Shrine works with the WLA Department of Children and Family Services and foster care organization Alliance to get gifts to foster children throughout Los Angeles. Donations will be accepted through December 15.
“We hope to be back together in the years to come as we support and help these kids,” the flyer continues. “There are currently 130 teens and 585 children under the care of the WLA Department of Children and Family Services.”
For more information on how to donate this year, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Los Angeles Police Department and Los Angeles Fire Department holiday toy drives have returned in 2020—though they look a little different this year.
The West Los Angeles Community Police Station is accepting new, unopened gifts that can be easily sanitized on Tuesdays and Wednesdays between 3 and 7 p.m. at 1645 Corinth Ave. Those interested in donating must email Officer Brian Espin to set up a drop-off appointment: email@example.com.
The “Spark of Love” Toy Drive, hosted by ABC7, the Southern California Firefighters and Toys for Tots, is celebrating its 28th year.
“To keep you, firefighters and needy children safe, we are sadly not able to receive toy donations at neighborhood fire stations this year,” an LAFD spokesperson shared. “To make sure no deserving child goes without a gift this holiday season, we have developed an easy-to-use system that delivers your chosen item to Toy Central.”
Anyone interested in donating can visit myregistry.com/giftlist/sparkoflove to select and purchase a toy remotely; text the word SPARK to 24365 to receive the link; or donate via credit card at supportlafd.kindful.com by selecting “Spark of Love.”
Eliana Feinstein contributed to this story.
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