CHP hosts annual CHiPs for Kids toy drive
“Santa can’t always get to every house,” said Josh Greengard, with the California Highway Patrol. For the past three decades, the CHP has been there to help fill in the gaps.
Monday signaled the beginning of the annual CHiPs for Kids toy drive. From about 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. every day until Dec. 16, local CHP staff will be in front of the Valencia Target collecting unopened toys and other goods — excluding food — to benefit local charities including Help the Children, the Michael Hoefflin Foundation, Carousel Ranch, the Department of Child and Family Services and SCV churches.
Ro Ma Jewelers, Auto Nation, Walgreens, California Pizza Kitchen and the CHP main office also have donation boxes, and will be accepting toys until a few days before Christmas.
“We help children from toddlers all the way to age 18, so we’ll take almost anything people want to donate,” Greengard said. “People donated a hair dryer and some nail polish, which is really nice for the teenagers we help.”
Greengard, who has run the drive for the Newhall-area office for the past three years, said that residents are often so generous that sometimes people donate entire shopping carts full of toys. Last year, the Newhall CHP collected almost 4,000 donations.
“There’s so much foot traffic here and obviously a lot of toys inside of Target, so it’s easy for everybody,” he said. “We have officers and staff here to explain where the toys go. It’s a very smooth process.”
Greengard also said that at the end of the toy drive, Target will donate $1,000 for the CHP to purchase additional toys for the drive. He said he finds the job very fulfilling, and that while he enjoys seeing the community share their resources, he has the most fun giving the presents to the kids.
“I get to be Santa, except I get to wear my uniform, which is even cooler,” he said.
Ava Otto gave a Barbie doll to the toy drive and asked her mother to take a picture of her so she could encourage her friends to donate, as well.
“I wanted to donate to help make another kid happy for Christmas,” the 8-year-old said. “Some kids don’t have families to spend Christmas with or don’t have toys, so I think it’s important to donate because every kid deserves to be happy at least once in a while.”