SALINAS, Calif. (KION)- The Salinas Police Activities League is giving Santa some extra help this Christmas by giving toys to local kids in need.
It’s that time of the year again, with it, the Police Activities League's annual toy drive. Over 12,000 toys went from Los Angeles to the Central Coast to help kids in need. Its purpose? To help make a child’s Christmas one to remember.
Jeff Lamb, the Executive Director for PAL, wants to ensure everyone has a great Christmas this year.
"We don't really ask people their income or anything like that. Sometimes this may be one of the only gifts they get so were paid back just through the smiles and the excitement of children," said Lamb.
The clock ticking this year to get to the toys from down south back to Salinas. That’s where members of Salinas Fire came in to make the journey. Sean Valenzuela helped bring the toys from Los Angles back home to Salinas.
"It's one of the reasons I'm involved with it. It's because there's a lot of work to put into it, but when you see these piles, and you see the people coming to pick out the toys, you see the benefit it actually plays in our community."
Thanks to funding from local organizations, an array of toys were able to be purchased. Everything from gift cards, to baby toys, and packaged goods will make their way to local charities to give out to kids.
"The Hardin Foundation has been wonderful for so many years this year, we received some money from California American Water Service that's huge," mentioned Lamb.
A foster care service in Salinas is just one of many organizations that will receive toys. This year, they have their own unique way of dispersing the toys.
Shaniz Beza works with Peacock Acres, a foster care service in Salinas. She says they have a special event planned to give out toys this year.
"Christmas Day, we'll wrap them up, and we'll distribute them for Christmas so the kids can open them up on Christmas Day,” said Beza.
And aside from keeping the community safe for the holidays, Salinas Fire will keep giving.
"We have this year eighteen different organizations that over the years we've kind of developed those relationships anywhere ranging from after-school programs for kids all the way up to foster homes," said Valenzuela.
Steve Furtado currently sits on the board of Directors for PAL and has been a part of the entire process. He hopes to continue the tradition every single year.
"The help of Salinas Firefighters and Salinas Pal and we have very generous sponsors individual Hardin Foundation is our biggest one, and they've been doing it now for twenty-plus years, " said Furtado.