Elk Grove police officers and Cosumnes firefighters will continue their 25-year-old tradition of collecting Christmas gifts from the community and then delivering them to children in need.
As part of the annual Toy Project, deliveries will still be made by fire truck or police car to the children’s families at their homes in Elk Grove and Galt during the weekend before Christmas.
The Salvation Army also plans to deliver a box of food to each family.
“I’m just proud that we’re still able to serve the community and keep our traditions going,” said Laurel Schamber, a Cosumnes Fire public education officer who is organizing the Toy Project.
Each family has been preselected by organizers. Schamber said that 60 families are currently signed up to receive gifts, and she mentioned that 400 children are already registered in Galt. She also noted there has been an increase of about 70 children and 15 families this year.
“We’re just grateful to give the families and the children a Christmas – that’s what it’s about: the children,” Schamber said. “We’re making sure that the children are happy and something good happens in this unprecedented year.”
The COVID-19 pandemic prompted organizers to make changes to this year’s practices. Volunteers will not wrap toys, but they will instead deliver Christmas giftwrap to parents so they can wrap the gifts instead, Schamber said. Donations will also be accepted at outdoor bins outside Cosumnes fire stations between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. in order for the fire staff to keep a safe distance from the donors.
Schamber said that the Toy Project are seeking toys for children ages 8-11, and mentioned they typically receive plenty of donations for younger recipients. She mentioned that one gift idea could be gift cards for fast food restaurants.
“It gives them the ability to make their own choices and be independent,” Schamber said.
New, unwrapped toys will be accepted all year long at the fire stations.
“There is always some need for toys throughout the year and we’re helping in whatever way we can,” Schamber said.
Clothing and second-hand toys will not be accepted by the Toy Project.
For more information about the Toy Project, contact the Elk Grove police’s crime prevention office at (916) 478-8122 or firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact Cosumnes Fire Public Educator Officer Laurel Schamber at (916) 405-7114 or LaurelSchamber@csdfire.com.
Santa & Sirens parade to be held in one place, Dec. 1 and 3
Donated toys will also be accepted at the annual Santa & Sirens parade that’s being held by the Elk Grove police and Cosumnes fire departments on Dec. 1 and 3.
However, Santa will not ride a fire truck and visit neighborhoods this year. He will instead be a part of a Christmas display that will be held at the firefighter training center near the Cosumnes Fire Department’s headquarters.
The public is invited to stay in their vehicles and drive by the display on those nights, between 7-9 p.m.
“It’s going to be the same parade,” Schamber said. “But instead of going to the community, the community is going to come and drive through.”
The Cosumnes Fire Department’s headquarters is at 10573 East Stockton Blvd., Elk Grove. This facility is next to the Emerald Lakes Golf Course.
Where to drop off donations for the Toy Project
Community members can drop off new, unwrapped toys at bins between 8 a.m. and 7 p.m. outside the following Cosumnes fire stations in Elk Grove: Station 71 (8760 Elk Grove Blvd.), Station 72 (10035 Atkins Drive), Station 73 (9607 Bond Road), Station 74 (6501 Laguna Park Drive), Station 75 (2300 Maritime Drive), and Station 76 (8545 Sheldon Road).
Donors can also deliver toys to these locations: Allstate Insurance – Curtis Chandler Office (8788 Elk Grove Blvd.), Dreaming Dog Brewing Company (2501 West Taron Ct.), Elk Grove Ford (9645 Auto Center Drive), Elk Grove police station (8400 Laguna Palms Way), Flatland Brewing Company (9183 Survey Road).