The American Red Cross of Santa Monica, KABC Channel 7, Santa Monica firefighters and the Rotary Club of Santa Monica will be collecting new toys through Friday, Dec. 24 as part of the annual “Spark of Love Toy Drive.”

As in previous years, a new unwrapped toy or sports equipment can be dropped off at the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter or any Santa Monica Fire Department station.

Youth volunteers from the Red Cross chapter will help collect the toys for children and teens in need in the local area. The youths will also help Santa Monica firefighters distribute the toys.

Especially needed are toys, games, books, school supplies and items appropriate for teens from the ages of 14 to 18, drive organizers say.

Santa Monica area families in need can also sign up for the “Spark of Love Toy Drive” to receive toys for their children. Persons needing toys can stop by the Santa Monica Red Cross, 1450 11th St., between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. weekdays through Saturday, Dec. 18 to sign up, which includes providing the number of children in the family and their ages. Families can download the registration form at: www.redcrossofsantamonica.org.

With the help of its partners, the “Spark of Love Toy Drive” collected over 500,000 toys in the five-county area last year. Organizers say the goal is to double that number this year, the 18th consecutive year for the drive.

Unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Santa Monica Red Cross during regular business hours through Christmas eve. Santa Monica Fire Station 121 at 1444 Seventh St., Station 122 at 222 Hollister Ave., Station 123 at 1302 19th St. and Station 125 at 2450 Ashland Ave. will all accept toys as well.

Financial contributions to the Spark of Love Toy Drive can be made by writing a check payable to:

Spark of Love Toy Drive, c/o California Community Foundation. Checks can be mailed directly to: ABC7; Attention: Teresa Samaniego, 500 Circle Seven Drive, Glendale, CA 91201.

Donations can also be made online at www.abc7.com, or www.calfund.org.

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