Richmond Fire and Police Department in desperate need of toy donations for 1,600 families

RICHMOND, Calif. (KGO) -- This year the Richmond Fire and Police Holiday Toy Program is falling short and their deadline is fast approaching.

By December 20th, they're hoping to gather new toys or raise enough money to buy gifts for 250 families with multiple children in each family. That's half of the families that have signed up for this year's holiday program.

"If there are not enough donations received to match requests, 2019 may be the first year ever that the program is not able to deliver to each child who has made a request for Christmas," Richmond Fire Captain Rico Rincon said.

Toy donations are need for ages 3 to 12 years old. The shelf for boys ages 7 to 10 years old is completely empty.

Battalion Chief Manly Moulton has been a part of the toy drive for the last 24 years and has never seen it like this. "I've never seen the shelves bare, empty like this. Toys are usually falling off the shelves on the floor and we're just trying to get volunteers to help bag," Moulton said.

Richmond Police Officer Tom Peterson said for some children, this is the only Christmas they will have.

"I think a lot of people would be surprised," Officer Peterson said. "If you have nothing then something is a really big deal. I mean anything you know, it just provides a memory sometimes which is enough."

To donate you can visit the website here or drop off new toys at any Richmond Fire station.

Cash donations will be spent providing toys, books, bicycles and other gifts.

Cindy Haden has volunteered and worked this toy drive since it first started over 20 years ago. Haden is even willing to go as far as pick up your toy donation.

"You can call me, my number is on the website if you need me to come and get your toys," Haden said. I'll be happy to do that. We are just sorely in need this year."

Rod Woods, a retired firefighter, started the toy drive for the fire department. Police at the time had a separate food drive. Eventually they combined efforts and created the Richmond Fire and Police Holiday Toy Program.

In all they're hoping to provide 1,600 families with a bag of toys, a dinner and a drawing to win a free bicycle.
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