Spark of Love toy drive goes virtual with need greater than ever

LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- For the most part, this year's Spark of Love drive has gone virtual to reduce the spread of the coronavirus. But firefighters are still delivering the toys that you buy online to Southern California families.
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."

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Join ABC7, the Southern California Firefighters and Toys for Tots, along with our presenting sponsor Subaru, for the Spark of Love Toy Drive.


  • 1) Buy a toy at

  • 2) Text to Give: Text "SPARK" to 24365

  • 3) Donate online by going to to make a donation via credit card.

  • 4) Drop off a toy at a Subaru Retailer. During their "Share the Love" retail event, your SoCal Subaru of America Retailers will make a donation for every toy dropped off at a SoCal location, up to a guaranteed donation of $40,000.

  • 5) Buy a t-shirt: ABC7 has teamed up with local muralists to create exclusive Spark of Love-themed t-shirts. ABC7 will donate 100% of its proceeds from Snow Commerce's sale of these t-shirts to support our 28th annual toy drive. Check them out at
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