VENTURA, Calif. -- The Fire Departments of Ventura County’s Spark of Love toy drive is doing more than helping to give children and families a brighter holiday, it’s creating needed cheer, bringing communities together and putting money back in to our local businesses.
All monetary donations collected by the Ventura County Professional Firefighters Association (VCPFA) for the Spark of Love toy drive are being used to purchase toys from local businesses, helping our communities out during the COVID pandemic.
On Monday, VCPFA President Kevin Aguayo and Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD) Fire Chief Mark Lorenzen purchased toys and model kits for youth in need at Ventura Hobbies at 2950 Johnson Drive. Owner Vern Morseman is a 'Businesses With Heart' partner – a business that offers discounts and more to foster and adoptive families; families that have children served by the Spark of Love toy drive.
“Instead of people coming by fire stations and donating actual toys we were encouraging people to donate money this year. And so what we are doing is taking those donations and using them to help support local businesses and purchase toys directly from them,” said Chief Lorenzen.
The toy drive supports many organizations that support in need or at-risk youth working with more than 20 non-profits and agencies, including Ventura County Sheriffs Office’s Safe Passage program, the Ventura County Medical Center and the Family Justice Center.
The Fire Departments of Ventura County have teamed up with residents, businesses and organizations to ensure that the more than 9,000 children in-need will have a season to remember. This number is up from the 6,000 children and youth served last year. Spark of Love is only possible due to the on-going generosity of thousands of people in our communities across the region. Due to the pandemic, the need to wrap around our local neighbors and businesses is greater than ever.
Local businesses have been reaching out and giving support by providing collection locations, offering discounts and giving donations, including Play it Again Sports in Ventura, Tuesday Morning in Camarillo and many more. As a continuing sponsor, The Collection of Riverpark has generously donated a storefront for toy collection and distribution. Over 120 local businesses and organizations are partners with the drive, many offering toy drop off locations.
To view sponsors and partners, click here.