Richmond toy drive ‘well short’ of donations

Toys collected at a Richmond Fire Station for the 2018 Richmond Fire and Police Holiday Drive serving over 1,200 underserved families.

With the Dec. 20 deadline for donations fast-approaching, the Richmond Fire and Police Holiday Toy Program is appealing to the community for help, as the 33rd annual drive has fallen “well short” of the number of toys requested by families in need.

There has been a shortage in monetary donations used to buy toys in bulk for over 1,500 underprivileged families, Richmond Fire Capt. Rico Rincon said.

“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,” Rincon said.

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

“There are more kids in need of toys,” Rincon said. “Requests have grown and people are donating, but not as much.”

You can assist by donating new toys to any Richmond Fire Station, or providing a monetary donation through the organization website at

The program is looking for private and corporate donors interested in providing donations for the families.

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, 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.