Spark of Love Toy Drive
In the early 1950’s, firefighter Murray Cohn, started collecting toys for needy kids in the area surrounding his fire station. This labor of love and generosity took root and grew to other surrounding stations, thus helping the cause and providing for even more kids. Upon Cohn’s retirement, Captain Jim Salisbury took over. Then Captain Bob Caldon took on the duty of “Head Elf” for over 20 years. The Toy Program has carried on the traditions from long ago, and continues to help hundreds of needy families each year. Firefighter Will Nash now oversees this monumental effort and helps Santa make a difference in the lives of Long Beach children every year.
In 1992, a cooperative decision was made to develop a regional toy drive. Known as the “Spark of Love,” local area fire departments have teamed with ABC Channel 7 for financial backing, supplies, and media coverage.
Through the combined generosity of businesses and residents, each year the Spark of Love program provides gifts to kids throughout Long Beach who would have otherwise gone without. Spark of Love works in conjunction with several other charitable organizations, both giving and receiving toys and donations. Each year we provide for about 400 families and over 20 different community groups. This builds goodwill within our community, and provides kids with positive role models.
Teachers in the LBUSD identify special need families throughout the year. Firefighters also see hardships in the areas they serve and can recommend families. Toys are collected throughout the month at various city events, parties, from local businesses, and residents who drop the toys off at our fire stations. The program runs as a result of numerous volunteer hours put forth by our LBFD firefighters, lifeguards, Ambassadors, and Honoraries. Delivery are made to families and community organizations throughout the month of December, culminating in our CODE 3 Delivery Day where we make rounds all through the city with Santa in his fire engine sleigh.
Donations sought should be new, unwrapped, toys, sports equipment, clothes, or school supplies. Items for teens are also needed. These items can be dropped off at any local area fire station, CVS Pharmacies, City Hall, or select local area business. SOL also accepts monetary donations. Checks should be made out to: Friends of Long Beach Firefighters, Spark of Love.
Please visit the Long Beach Fire Department Spark of Love website to get involved.
Follow the link: