Richmond’s police chief issues an eleventh-hour call for holiday toy donations

Circulated on the email forum of Richmond Councilman Tom Butt is this message from Police Chief Chris Magnus on behalf of the annual Richmond-El Cerrito Toy Drive:


Each year, one of the biggest, nicest, and most needed holiday toy and food give-aways occurs in Richmond. It’s coordinated by the Richmond-El Cerrito Fire and Police Holiday Toy program with the help of a lot of caring residents, businesses, and community organizations. Over 2,000 families will be at the Richmond Coronado Neighborhood YMCA on Dec. 22nd to pick up toys for their children and food for their holiday meal.

I have been part of this event for a number of years and it’s difficult to convey how profoundly it impacts me every holiday season. When you see single moms crying with relief and happiness that they have presents for their kids this Christmas, or you have parents hugging you because they’re able to give their child his or her first bike, it’s pretty hard not to be moved. Sometimes it just a dad who’s new to this country, who quietly says “thank you” in broken English as he’s given food that you know will make a big difference for his family.

I hope you’ll consider showing up to help with this event on the 22nd. To me, it really reflects what the holiday season is about.

But what I’m really hoping is that you’ll help us with this terrific program right now. Let me get right to the bottom line: We don’t have enough donations this year to purchase the volume of toys and food we need for all the families who have asked to participate in this year’s give-away. Maybe it’s the bad economy; maybe it’s the greater need, but whatever the case, we are struggling to fund the food and toys we’ve got to have to successfully pull off this year’s event.

I know this is the time of year when you’re probably being hit up for donations right and left, but please know this is one of the worthiest endeavors you can be part of. 100% of whatever you donate goes directly to purchase toys and food for needy families. All the folks running this event are volunteers. In addition, donations to the Richmond-El Cerrito Holiday Toy Program are all tax-deductible.

Please help make the holidays a happy time for families who really need the support. Donations can be made on-line at www.toyprogram.org, or checks can be mailed to 3060 El Cerrito Plaza Ste. 360,El Cerrito, CA 94530. Checks should be made out to the Richmond-El Cerrito Holiday Toy Program. If you’d like to be a sponsor (which is a critical need right now), please call (510)774-5133.
Thank you so much for considering this important request. I wish the very happiest holiday season ahead.


Chris Magnus
Richmond Chief of Police

Check out the Richmond Police Department on Facebook or on-line at www.richmondpd.net.

Chris Treadway