What Makes Our Program Different?
The Redwood City/San Mateo County Toy Drive (RWC/SMC Toy Drive) is a cooperative effort that is orchestrated by members of public safety in San Mateo County, including San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office, Redwood City Police and Fire Departments, Police Activities League, Woodside Fire, San Carlos Fire, San Mateo Sheriff’s Activities League and CARON program. While all of these entities share equal parts in providing the muscle to direct the program’s efforts, the Redwood City Community is truly the backbone to its success. It is through the empowerment and strong leadership and participation from City and County officials and staff that we are enabled to build and sustain great community giving campaigns like the RWC/SMC Toy Drive.
A Community Event
It begins at the Fair Oaks Community Center, where low-income families verify that they meet the qualifications of the program. The family is then assigned a number that represents their address, number of children, age and gender. At that point, the number and information attached to it are passed to the teams who organize multiple events that lead to the ultimate distribution of the toys. The first event is the annual wrapping party at Red Morton Community Center. The toys are then distributed over the course of three delivery nights. The teams are lead by Santa who is accompanied by volunteers from police, fire, sheriff’s department and their families. These teams set out to deliver the toys and an unforgettable holiday experience to the assigned families. This has become a very popular event and it’s not uncommon for City and County managers, city council members, Supervisors and other community champions riding shotgun as St. Nick’s helpers on the deliveries.
Also very popular is the pick-up parties that are hosted in Redwood City, San Carlos, Half Moon Bay and Pescadero where the families come to pick up their toys. Some parents come alone to keep the gifts a surprise for the holiday morning and others come as a family to receive their gifts from Santa. It is a festive party with family activities and games to play before meeting with Santa.