Boise res­i­dent tries to save Christ­mas for Camp Fire vic­tims with one-man char­ity drive

The Idaho Statesman - - Local - BY BRAN­DON RAS­MUSSEN bras­[email protected]­hostates­man.com

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]

BRAN­DON RAS­MUSSEN bras­[email protected]­hostates­man.com

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.

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