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.


Agenda report for Richmond’s new family service center

Agenda report below.

Story link is here



November 13, 2012 Mayor McLaughlin and Members of the City Council
James Goins, Finance Director Chris Magnus, Police Chief
Staff is recommending that the City receive from Contra Costa County title to the building located at 256 24th Street, at no cost to the City, and finance and undertake the improvements to this building for use as the West Contra Costa Family Justice Center (WCCFJC).
Adopt a resolution (1) approving the forms of and authorizing the execution and delivery of a site lease, lease-purchase agreement, and escrow agreement, and (2) authorizing certain additional actions, for financing up to $2 million of tenant improvements through a 10-year capital lease at a building located at 256 24th Street, to be used as the West Contra Costa Family Justice Center.
Staff proposes that the City finance up to $2 million of tenant improvements through a 10-year capital lease, with annual debt service costs of approximately $234,940 during the ten year term. The annual debt service would be funded from partner agencies, including the City of Richmond, and sponsor commitments and grants on going forward basis.
November 13, 2012    Page 1 of 3
Background on West Contra Costa Family Justice Center
The Richmond Police Department is working together with Contra Costa County, Community Violence Solutions, STAND!, and Bay Area Legal Aid to establish a Family Justice Center in Richmond. A Family Justice Center is the co-location of a multi- disciplinary team of professionals who work together, under one roof, to provide coordinated services to victims of domestic violence. While a Family Justice Center may house many partners, the basic partners include police officers, district attorneys, civil-legal service providers, and community-based advocates.
The primary purpose of a Family Justice Center is to provide one place where victims of domestic violence can go to talk to an advocate, plan for their safety, conduct an interview with a police officer, meet with a prosecutor, receive medical assistance, receive information on shelter, and get help with transportation. The West Contra Costa Family Justice Center (WCCFJC or FJC) promises to be one of the most significant projects created for victims of abuse in this region in the past twenty years.
The Family Justice Center approach is based on the San Diego Family Justice Center model which was established in 2002. The Family Justice Center model has been identified as a best practice in the field of domestic violence intervention and prevention services by the United States Department of Justice. The documented and published outcomes in the Family Justice Center model have included: reduced homicides; increased victim safety; increased autonomy and empowerment for victims; reduced fear and anxiety for victims and their children; increased efficiency and coordination among service providers; and reduced recantation and minimization by victims when wrapped in services and support.
Each year police agencies around the country, including Richmond PD, respond to alarming incidents of domestic violence. In Richmond, at least several homicides each year are domestic-related. The prevalence of family violence is even more alarming based on experts’ estimates that only 25 percent of such cases are actually reported. Underreporting of domestic violence is even greater among immigrants, non-English speaking residents, young people, and members of the LGBT community. There are many reasons why victims often fail to report domestic violence, including love, fear, religious beliefs, threats to children, lack of money or resources, or simply not knowing that help is available.
Most criminal and civil justice systems make it difficult for victims to seek help and unintentionally wear them down. Victims are often required to travel from location to location to seek services that are scattered through a community or region. They have to tell their story over and over again to officials representing agencies, such as, law enforcement, courts, legal aid, medical, transportation, housing, social services, mental health, rehabilitation, financial assistance, and many more services. The criminal justice system unintentionally makes it easy for victims to become frustrated and ultimately stop seeking help.
November 13, 2012    Page 2 of 3
The West County Family Justice Center will provide a combination of services and interventions from one location at 256 24th Street (in downtown Richmond) to help victims and offenders break the cycle of violence and develop healthy relationships. A collaborative effort provides more support to victims and children involved in family violence through improved case management and a more fluid exchange of information and resources. Bridging existing gaps increases a victim’s access to services and resources and makes the entire process of reporting a domestic violence incident much less overwhelming for the victims and children involved.
Proposed Project Location
After considerable study regarding potential locations for the new FJC, the partners involved in this endeavor have identified the building at 256 24th Street in Richmond as the best location for this collaborative program. This building was formerly used by Contra Costa County as an out-patient mental health services clinic. The building has been largely unoccupied for the last several years, so it has fallen into some disrepair and has been subject to a fair amount of vandalism, theft, and neglect. Despite this, its size, overall configuration, and location (close to other social services and mass transit routes) make it an excellent choice for use as a Family Justice Center.
As part of its contribution towards opening a FJC in West County, Contra Costa County has agreed to deed the building to the City of Richmond at no cost conditional on its use for this purpose. The City, in turn, with authorization from the City Council, would fund up to $2 million in tenant improvements.
Proposed Project Financing
The Finance Department recommends a capital lease as the most efficient manner of financing these costs. Current market conditions indicate that debt service for a ten year capital lease would bear an interest rate of 3.17%, resulting in annual debt service payments of $234,940 beginning in FY2012-13. The FJC partnership would pay the annual debt service on this bond, with the City, as a partner in the FJC, contributing some portion of this cost, and the remaining funding coming from other partner agencies and sponsor commitments and grants on a going forward basis.
Staff is recommending that the City Council provide conceptual approval for the Family Justice Center as outlined in this report, and adopt the resolution to facilitate its financing.
Attachment 1 – Proposed Resolution Attachment 2 – Form of Site Lease Attachment 3 – Form of Lease/Purchase Agreement Attachment 4 – Escrow Agreement Attachment 5 – Assignment Agreement