CHP hosts an­nual CHiPs for Kids toy drive

The Signal - - Opinion - By Matt Fer­nan­dez Sig­nal Staff Writer

“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.”

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