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Toy donations are down, need for help is up

December 9, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
It's that time of the year again, when the community comes together to help each other out and donate to the Spark of Love toy drive. But this year the tough economy is dimming that flame, and we need your help to keep it lit. Here is how you can help. The toys are piling up inside one Ontario warehouse. Most of the toys were collected at ABC7 Spark of Love Stuff-A-Bus event. But while the warehouse may look like a mountain of toys this year, donations are down.

"Last year we did six buses," said Mike Pou, Radius Warehousing. "This year, we really did like three and a half, so it's down probably 40 to 50 percent of what it used to be."

Mike Pou runs the warehouse. For 10 years he's donated space for all the toys collected by southern California firefighters. But this year, drop boxes outside fire stations just aren't filling up as fast.

"Not only is it compounded because the economy is bad, we also have increased the amount of families we've taken on this year," said Capt. Mike Kern, Ontario Fire Dept.

So not only are donations down, but the need is up. There are still two weeks until Christmas. That is two weeks to make a small donation that can lead to a big smile.

"We do get to see that, we get to see the rewards of the toy drive. The general public doesn't see that when they donate the toy, but it does make a difference for a child," said Kelly Donaldson, Rancho Cucamonga Fire Dept.

Your help is needed and here is how you can do it: Bring any unwrapped, unopened toy-or sports equipment, because we need toys for the teenage group. Bring any it to a local fire station, and drop it in the Spark of Love box out front. If you don't see a box, just drop it off at the front door step, and a firefighter will make sure it gets to the right place.

Your help is greatly needed and appreciated.