Richmond’s massive annual food, toy, and bike drive launches

The gymnasium at the EM Downer YMCA in Richmond was stocked full of toys, bags of food and bicycles in anticipation of the Richmond Fire & Police Holiday Program in December 2018.

The fundraising effort has launched for the 33rd Annual Richmond Fire & Police Holiday Program, which provides toys, bicycles and food to up to 1,200 local families.

A fundraising breakfast is set to take place on Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 9 a.m. at the Courtyard by Marriott at Hilltop, located at 3150 Garrity Way in Richmond. The Holiday Helpers Fundraising Breakfast costs a minimum donation of $20 that is tax deductible. Proceeds will benefit the toy and food drive.

If you cannot make the breakfast, you can also make a donation by clicking here.

City agencies, community organizations and local corporate sponsors including Chevron Richmond participate in the Richmond Fire & Police Holiday Program every year. The event is fueled by donations of toys to food barrels at fire and police stations citywide, along with monetary donations.

The holiday drive culminates a few days before Christmas with families picking up their donated items from volunteers at the EM Downer YMCA. Families sign up in advance to participate in the program.

The Richmond Fire & Police Holiday Program was inspired back in 1989 by now-retired Richmond firefighter Rod Woods, who organized a toy drive. Meanwhile, the Richmond Police Department had been running a food drive. 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 adding its continued support. For a time, El Cerrito Fire also joined the effort.

Later, the E.M. Downer YMCA offered a larger space in their gym to hold the giveaway event, along with administrative support.