Toy drive brightens the holidays for needy children

The Adult Degree Evening Program is kicking off the holiday season with a toy drive at CLU.

The ADEP Office will be collecting toys at all three California Lutheran University campuses to benefit KABC7 and Southern California Firefighters’ annual Spark of Love toy drive.

The toy drive collects toys throughout Southern California counties and redistributes them to needy children with the help of non-profit service organizations.

For ADEP Interim Director Lisa Buono, the toy drive goes beyond giving back to the community.

“Whether it was Spark of Love or Toys for Tots, my mom and I would always buy a few toys and donate them to these organizations,” said Buono. “Everybody should have something at the holidays.”

ADEP’s toy drive runs from Nov. 27 to Dec. 13. To donate, simply drop off new, unwrapped toys in the collection box at the ADEP Office.

Buono recalls what it was like to receive toys as a child.

“Think of the joy that gave you. You got a lot of pleasure out of that,” said Buono. “This is a way to share that pleasure this time of year.”

ADEP’s efforts may be a small part of the collection effort that stretches across Southern California, but Los Angeles County Firefighter Public Information Officer Tony Imbrenda stresses the impact made in this “major logistical endeavor.”

“They are very important. We do have our own collections at departments,” said Imbrenda. “[but] the more convenient we can make it the better.”

Imbrenda has had the chance to ride along with the fire trucks and firefighters who distribute some of the gifts collected to families. He said it is gratifying and positive to give to people who have less.

Elena Jaloma, director of Student Support Services at CLU, was one of the first to donate toys after she heard about the toy drive. She said that there is “nothing better than watching a little kid open up a gift.”

She also stressed the importance of convenient donation opportunities.

“You always have the intention of doing it, but if it’s not there, easily convenient, you might not get to it,” said Jaloma. “These are for kids in need. So for them, it means even more.”

Junior Shawn Jackson, decided he wanted to participate after seeing others donate.

Jackson and his roommate planned an excursion to buy toys.

Jackson’s cross country teammates joined in the trip too.

“It doesn’t matter if we get two toys or fill all three boxes,” said Buono.


Joe Wood
Staff Writer
Published Dec. 5, 2012