Thanks to the California Highway Patrol, the Colusa County Community Advocates for Parents and Children (CAPC) and the generosity of local community, over 150 area kids had a merrier Christmas this year.
The CHiPS for Kids Toy Drive, an annual event held by CHP, almost didn’t happen in Colusa County this year after Impact Life Thrift Store was unable to serve as the toy distributor. But CAPC stepped up to the plate late and the toy drive turned out to be a huge success on Friday, despite the fact that it was CAPC’s first year running it and that they got such a late start on organizing it.
“I thought it went really well,” said CAPC program manager Carissa Bowers. “Families were notified Thursday afternoon/evening that their applications were accepted, so it was a very quick turnaround and we still had a lot of people make it out.”
Knowing that they helped to save one of the major holiday toy drives in the county that helps families in need made the experience all the more rewarding for the staff at CAPC, Bowers added.
“I think all of our staff in our office were honored to be a part of that, and honored to give families a chance to give their kids gifts on Christmas,” Bowers said. “Everyone that came through was very appreciative as well, which was rewarding in and of itself.”
For CAPC’s Ivan Rodriguez, the toy drive really hit home.
“When I was growing up, we really never had this,” Rodriguez said as he was working at the toy drive. “Coming from a single parent and having two other siblings… I knew how it felt not getting presents. It’s just amazing to see how everyone came together, the whole community, to give back to the community. It’s amazing to get to be a part of it. I’m blessed and grateful.”
Bowers said that CAPC and CHP had a bunch of great helpers, including young adults from the Independent Living Program – who were wrapping gifts – as well as Williams third grader Philip Santillan, whose toy drive at Williams Elementary collected a bunch of toys that ultimately were donated to CHiPS for Kids.■