Our Unique Approach

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.

Current Status

Families to Support
Donations Recieved

Toy and Book Donations

The toys and books that support our program are donated by community members from the following four sources:

– Businesses around the community sponsor toy barrel drop offs.  These sponsors are listed on our website.
– San Carlos, Woodside and Redwood City Fire Station, Redwood City Police Department or San Mateo County Sheriff Headquarters Patrol or San Carlos Patrol Bureau drop offs.
– Holiday Parties.  Individuals or businesses in our community host Holiday parties with a “Toy/Book Theme.”
– Financial donations that contribute to the purchase of new toys, books and materials needed for the program.

Wish List:

We can always use the following items donated to the Toy and Book Drive program:

– Scissors
– Tape
– Holiday Gift Wrapping Paper
– Printing Services
– Food provided for delivery nights
– Bottled water
– 2 mil 55 gallon garbage bags
– Gently used Santa Suits
– New Santa gloves, beards and wigs
– Holiday costumes
– Candy canes


Toyland, as we call it, is the foundation of the operation and is the storage and distribution point for all of the toys. It’s here that you’ll find our volunteer staff tirelessly organizing the toys by age, gender and type.


Last year we delivered to nearly 750 families with more than – 15,000 toys and books. This year we are striving to collect and distribute even more!