It may be a bit too soon to put up the holiday trees and lights, but when it comes to the massive annual Richmond Fire & Police Holiday Program that serves over 1,500 families, there’s a need to get started with outreach and fundraising early.
Program organizers are calling out to supporters to donate and to recipients to apply to the program that distributes toys and food to economically disadvantaged children in West Contra Costa County during the holiday season.
This year, all applications must be taken in person. No phone call registrations will be accepted.
In-person registration will occur ONE DAY ONLY — on Saturday, Oct. 27 — at E M Downer Family YMCA, 263 South 20th St. in Richmond. Registration begins that day at 8 a.m. until all 1,200 tickets are distributed. It will be first come, first served.
All applicants, parents and guardians, must have a picture ID card and proof they reside in West County. That evidence must be determined by the address on your ID card or current USPS mail in applicant’s name with a home address.
The toy program is available to youth up to 12 years old. You must be the primary caretaker for all children listed, and they must reside in your home. For more information regarding registration, please call (510) 367-7762.
To donate to the Holiday Toy/Food Program, visit www.richmondfireandpolicetoyprogram.com.
Also, consider attending a fundraising breakfast set for Friday, Nov. 2 at Courtyard by Marriott at Hilltop, 3150 Garrity Way in Richmond. See the flyer below for details.
The event was inspired by 1989 now-retired Richmond firefighter Rod Woods and the Richmond Police Department separately on efforts to assist families during the holidays. Woods organized a toy drive, while the focus of RPD’s efforts was on providing food. After many years of growing their separate programs and having outgrown space at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center, Fire and Police united as one entity, with the Chevron Fire Department also stepping up and continuing their support. For a time, El Cerrito Fire also joined the effort.
The E.M. Downer YMCA offered a larger space in their gym and administrative support.
The result? The program went from serving 500 to 1,500 families with food and toys, not to mention the chance to win a donated bicycle.
“Corporate sponsors such as Chevron, Mechanics Bank, Richmond Sanitary, Richmond Rotary, Sims Metal, Costco, the Courtyard by Marriott and many others stepped up to the plate to offer not only money, but volunteers who helped with toy bagging, food bagging and at the event itself, handing out bags, helping to carry bags, handling the bike giveaway and much more,” according to program officials.