Boise resident tries to save Christmas for Camp Fire victims with one-man charity drive
The whoosh of warm air meeting cold enveloped Mike Salsedo as he entered ToyTown in Boise with a determined look about him.
With a friendly greeting, he approached the first employee and asked to see a supervisor. When addressed by the manager, he said, simply, “I’m looking for some help with a toy drive.”
ToyTown is one of many establishments Salsedo has visited in the past two weeks. On that particular day, Salsedo spent hours looking for businesses willing to support the Treasure Valley to Paradise Project, a self-started toy drive to benefit the children affected by the deadly Camp Fire, which all but destroyed the town of Paradise, California, last month.
“The devastation is just terrible,” Salsedo said. “So many people down there are impacted, but I’m worried about the kids.”
A resident of Boise since 2010, Salsedo spent most of his life teaching in Chico, California, where many who lost their homes in Paradise are being housed.
About two weeks ago, after hearing stories from friends living in Chico, Salsedo decided to do what he could to help the children who had lost everything.
Starting with a single pickup truck, Salsedo set out to find drop-off locations for toy donations, a warehouse or storage area to keep the donations safe and a large vehicle to transport them. So far, Salsedo has managed to procure two garages and a truck donated by U-Haul on Chinden Boulevard, as well as eight drop-off locations:
Axiom Fitness: 7326 W. Fairview Ave., 3505 E. Monarch Sky Lane, 1455 S. Country Terrace Way and 801 E. Parkcenter Blvd.
Carter Family Dentistry: 7878 W. Ustick Road
CSL Plasma: 3419 N. Cole Road
Horizon Home Health & Hospice: 63 W. Willowbrook Drive in Meridian, 312 E. Main St. in Emmett, 211 E. Logan St. in Caldwell, 560 N. 6th E. St. in Mountain Home and 35 W. Idaho St. in Weiser
On the Spot Cleaners & Laundry: 3363 N. Cole Road, 1551 W. Cherry Lane
Sockeye Brewing: 12542 W. Fairview Ave., 3019 N. Cole Road
ToyTown: 7960 W. Rifleman St., 3327 N. Eagle Road
Wild World of Golf: 8057 Emerald St.
ToyTown also has offered a 10 percent discount for toy purchases for the drive.
“We live in a very fortunate world of fun and toys, and it’s nice for people to have that opportunity,” said Laurel Condon, manager of ToyTown’s Boise location. “Any time when there’s a disaster like this and someone is able to help out, I think that’s a great thing to do.”
As for getting the toys to children, Salsedo said he plans to drive to the various places were survivors are in Chico and hand them out Dec. 23. Since he’s not attached to any kind of organization, Salsedo said he will only accept donations in the form of toys or gift cards to help pay for gas.
Anyone interested in getting involved with the Treasure Valley to Paradise Project can visit drop-off spots or contact Salsedo at [email protected]
Boise resident Mike Salsedo waits for the manager of ToyTown, who offered a discount for purchases going toward Salsedo’s Treasure Valley to Paradise Project. It will send toys to children affected by the Camp Fire in California.