The Ventura County Fire Department took ABC7 behind the scenes where firefighters are already busy sorting toys for more than 9,000 children requesting one this year.
"We actually have a lot more families in need and a lot more kiddos that need help," Capt. Brian McGrath of the Ventura County Fire Department said
McGrath said the pandemic has changed how they collect and distribute the toys.
Following guidance from the CDC, toys are essentially held in quarantine for four days, then sanitized before being sorted by age of the children to receive them.
Nonprofits then step in to hand them out.
"It's definitely a lot different this year because we don't have that one-on-one interaction with the families," McGrath said.
McGrath said for the children, not much will change - and that's all that matters.
These firefighters only ask if you're going to give, consider doing it soon.
"We will be collecting until Dec. 24 but we would like to get them earlier in December so we can have time to quarantine them and make sure the safety of the families we're giving the toys to is taken care of," McGrath said.
While local fire stations this year aren't accepting toys on-site, other partnering locations are. There are also opportunities to donate online and at two drive-thru events, Dec. 5 in Simi Valley and Dec. 6 in Camarillo.
For all the support - Ventura County firefighters say thank you.
"With your help, together, we can keep the Spark of Love alive for the children in Southern California."
HOW TO DONATE