RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (KTXL) — Every year, Christmas in Cordova provides Christmas presents to 350 families, with about 800 children, through the Rancho Cordova Police Department’s Youth Services Unit.
“Our families will be driving through. We will have a Winter Wonderland set up. So, they’ll drive through a ton of lights, and pop-ups and fun Christmas scene, Christmas music,” said Police Activities League Program Director Tina Aldama.
Santa is on-hand as each family receives a bag of hand-picked toys, which the children placed on a wish list.
As toys are donated for the one-day event, they’re stored away until staff is ready to sort and wrap them up.
Unfortunately, nature had other plans.
“All the donated toys had been housed in a storage, just like this one. And when they went to check on them on Thursday, they discovered what the recent storms had done,” Aldama explained. “We found that, after the storm had come through a couple of weeks before, they had all been destroyed. There was water and mud and bugs all over everything. And we weren’t able to salvage anything.”
The league will be starting from scratch, collecting toys for the Christmas in Cordova event on Dec. 18 at Rancho Cordova City Hall.
“Now, we are rallying our community,” Aldama said.
The league hosted a food and toy drive benefiting the Rancho Cordova Community Food Locker, which will provide families with the fixings for a Thanksgiving Day dinner on Monday.
There were enough toys donated Saturday to filled up this a patrol car. The deputies said it’s an assignment they’re happy to be part of.
“I’ve actually been blessed to be assigned to police activities league. So, this is my assignment. I get to specifically help out the community. It’s great. It’s fantastic to be able to give back like that,” said Deputy Jason Kimbrell.
PAL executive director Sgt. James Spurgeon appreciates the good will.
“It’s a wonderful thing, all of these events we put on. At the end of the day, I know all the staff and the people we help, it just gives you a wonderful feeling. And it’s for a good cause. So, we love doing it,” Spurgeon said.
Toy donations can be dropped off daily at the police department.
There will be more toy drives coming up and an annual giving tree event beginning the weekend after Thanksgiving.
“It is my intent to at least invite the community. That all of the gifts that are given would be donated to the police department for distribution a wider community,” said Walter Little, the founder of the Rancho Cordova Food Locker.
PAL’s director said the city has rallied around them in working to get new donations in time.
“Rancho Cordova is one of a kind,” Aldama said. “They have been really rallying around us. to support us and make sure that we give these kids the best Christmas possible.”
The Rancho Cordova Community Food Locker will provide Thanksgiving Day dinners on Monday.
Here’s a list of upcoming toy drives where those who wish to donate can help:
Toy Drive with All Valley Food Trucks
Dec. 3, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Toy Drive with Western Swing Society
Dec. 5, 1 p.m. – 5 p.m.
Toy donations can be dropped off at the Rancho Cordova Police Station at 2897 Kilgore Road, from 5 p.m. — 9 p.m. daily.
To make monetary donations, tap or click here.