Richmond-El Cerrito fire and police ask for support helping needy families



Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257

Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program Needs Santa’s Helpers

Description: Richmond-El Cerrito Fire/Police Toy Program seeks help for needy families 

Richmond, CA —  December 4, 2013 –  First responders from Richmond and El Cerrito are asking the public for help to provide Food and Toy baskets to over 1700 families this coming holiday season.  The Richmond-El Cerrito Toy program is seeking to help needy families who have a hard time making ends meet.  Each year the program gets applications from the two cities from needy families hoping to receive a food basket and toys for their children under 12. This year 1700 families signed up for the program. Others were turned away because of the great need.

 “I think even the most jaded person will believe in miracles when they see these kids faces,” said Richmond firefighter Rod Woods, the brainchild of the 20 year old program, “We believe there are still good people in this world who will help us make this miracle happen.”  “This is not an easy season for many families, which is why we should all help one another when we can,” said Richmond Police Chief Chris Magnus, “There are people who gave to this program in the past who will be in line this year due to a job lay off or illness. You always hope help will be there for you if you need it. Sometimes kids give to the program, which is really heartwarming. What better way for parents to show their kids the spirit of the season than to give as a family.”

The public can help donate to the program by visitingwww.toyprogram.org. The public can also help by getting their school, place of employment, or religious organization to make a donation. Sharing the information with friends online via social media also helps. This year every dollar donated up to $10,000 will be matched by Chevron Corporation, so the money goes even further.

The toy program was started 20 years ago when Richmond Firefighter Rod Woods parked his vehicle in a low income neighborhood and distributed toys to the local children during the holidays. A police officer saw that he needed help and assisted him in the distribution. Since then it has grown to serve thousands of needy people each year.

Contact Information: 
Richmond-El Cerrito Food and Toy Program 
Contact: Michelle Milam  (510) 837-9257 


Who: Richmond, El Cerrito Firefighters and Police

What: Toy and Food Program

When: Need online donations



The Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program exists to collect and distribute new, unwrapped toys to economically disadvantaged children in the western Contra Costa County area during the holiday season.

As professional firefighters, we see the ravages brought on by the loss of both homes and property. Our non-profit organization strives to brighten the lives of needy children in Richmond, San Pablo and the surrounding communities, particularly during the holidays. Both monetary donations and donations of new, unwrapped toys are accepted throughout the calendar year. With generous donations from both local corporations and individuals, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes toys to children ages 12 and under residing in western Contra Costa County. Also, in conjunction with staff from the Richmond Police Department, the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program distributes food baskets so that families can enjoy a holiday dinner.

The primary objective of the Richmond/El Cerrito Fire & Police Holiday Toy Program is to assist underprivileged children and their families in western Contra Costa County during the holidays.


RYSE Center thanks supporters, urges more for kids this Christmas

From staff at the RYSE Center:

Hello Friends and Family,

First off, I would like to thank all of you who have donated money and/or toys for the RYSE toy drive. Your generosity is much appreciated. For those of you who may want to make a contribution, there is still time before Thursday to drop off toys or make an online donation that we will use to purchase toys (http://www.rysecenter.org/support-ryse/). Be sure to write “richmondtoys” in the PO box field.
Secondly, I would like to invite you all to attend our Winter Wonderland event this Saturday, December 8th from 2pm – 5pm. This should be a really fun event and a great opportunity for those of you who have not had a chance to make it out to RYSE to come check it out. Plus, it’s totally family friendly so you can bring all the little ones with you!
Hope to see you there!
Happy Holidays,

Toy and coat drive for North Richmond kids

The following is a press release from County Supervisor John Gioia’s office:

For the 14th year, I’m marking the holiday season by sponsoring a toy and coat drive for students at Verde Elementary School in North Richmond. This year I’m excited to also partner with the RYSE Youth Center to help seek donations for gifts for local youth.  

Our goal is to have new toys and jackets for all Verde students from kindergarten to 6th grade (youth sizes XS to XL), which I’ll help give out at a school celebration, and gifts for Richmond area youth up to age 14, which will be passed out at a RYSE community celebration in early December.   

 We greatly appreciate financial contributions to buy the items, or new merchandise (toys, teen gifts, coats).    

 The kindness and generosity of our community has made this a successful event every year. Many thanks in advance for helping our youth this Holiday season.   

One way to donate is via the RYSE Website

Here’s more:

Donations can be made in several ways:


Mail checks or drop off items at:    

Office of County Supervisor John Gioia 

11780 San Pablo Ave., Suite D,  

El Cerrito, 94530

(One block north of the El Cerrito Del Norte BART station)


RYSE Youth Center 

205 41st St. @ MacDonald Ave.  

Richmond, CA 94804 (West of the Target parking lot near Mechanics Bank)   

RYSE PO donation line


Donate online via RYSE website:  

 RYSE Donate button 

(click image)  


Please write “Toy Drive” in PO Number Box.



All checks should be made payable to: “RYSE Center,” c/o 2012 Toy and Coat Drive.  (We’re using this account for the Verde and RYSE efforts.)   


For more information please contact Luz Gomez, or by phone at 510-374-3231.  


It would be great to get donations as early as possible, up to December 7th. Thanks for helping out! 


John  John's QR Business Card
John Gioia
Supervisor, District One 
Contra Costa County 
11780 San Pablo Avenue, Suite D 
El Cerrito, CA  94530 
510-374-3231 Phone