Toy drives, giveaways under way across Bay Area


At the Ella Hill Hutch Center in San Francisco, 500 kids from public housing are expected to meet Santa and take home a toy. The police department collected all the toys with donations and toy drives. They say the need never ends and it's never too late to contribute.

Santa wore blue and a badge Friday in San Leandro where police officers gave out nearly 400 bikes to children in struggling families. "The Bike Project means families that would otherwise not receive something as exciting as a new bike for their children get one," said Rose Padilla Johnson at the Davis Street Family Center. The Bikes for Tikes program gave away around 400 bikes, but the need was for 1,500.

The bike giveaway goes hand-in-hand with the Davis Street Family Resource Center's holiday giveaway were there's always food, turkeys, and toys. The bikes are a bonus thanks to police department fundraising. Officer Louis Brandt raised $10,000 at a spaghetti feed then looked to the business community. "There's a great, tremendous amount of support and I received about $20,000 from business leaders and community leaders," he said. "So, it came to about $30,000 this year."

At Lefty O'Doul's in San Francisco's Union Square, the toy barrels are virtually empty. Their big night is Christmas Eve when they stay open until 2 a.m. for donations from last-minute shoppers. If your shopping is already done, you can always call Luxor Cab to make the delivery. "Luxor cans will be coming around . You just call them, they'll pick up the toy for you and drop off here with us," said John Fair and Lefty O'Doul's, adding that it's a service free of charge.

And, at the Ella Hill Hutch Center, the police department's Operation Dream and the center's Collective Impact groups were behind a party for kids who live in public housing, but their work does not end with the holiday. "There's some groups that won't be able to travel to the space at the location. You can definitely look up Operation Dream through the police department or our organization Collective Impact," said Sheryl Davis with Collective Impact. "We will be doing a giveaway again tomorrow at one of the housing development sites."

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