Youth volunteers from the American Red Cross Santa Monica chapter are collecting toys and gifts again this year for needy children and teens as part of the annual Spark of Love Toy Drive.

Red Cross youths are helping distribute the toys to children in Santa Monica and nearby communities.

The American Red Cross Santa Monica chapter, KABC Channel 7 and local firefighters are collecting the toys through Friday, December 19th. As in previous years, a new unwrapped toy or sports equipment can be dropped off at the Santa Monica Red Cross, any Santa Monica Fire Department station, CVS pharmacies and Albertson’s markets.

Through the Spark of Love Toy Drive sponsors and the public, countless numbers of children in Santa Monica and elsewhere can enjoy a new toy this holiday season, according to the Red Cross. Especially needed are toys, games, books, school supplies and items appropriate for teens aged 14 to 18.

Needy Santa Monica area families can also sign up for the Spark of Love Toy Drive to receive toys for their children. Families are asked to stop by the chapter during weekday business hours to sign up, which includes providing the number of children in the family and their ages.

With the help of its partners, the Spark of Love Toy Drive collected over 600,000 toys in the five-county area last year.

The goal is to double that number for the toy drive this year — the 15th consecutive year for the drive, a Red Cross spokesperson said.

Unwrapped toys can be dropped off at the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter at 1450 11th St. in Santa Monica, or at Santa Monica fire stations, including Station 121 at 1444 Seventh St.; Station 122 at 222 Hollister Ave., near Second Street; Station 123 at 1302 19th St., at Arizona Avenue; and Station 125 at 2450 Ashland Ave., south of Ocean Park Boulevard. Toys may also be left in the Spark of Love bins at local CVS pharmacies and Albertsons markets.

The American Red Cross of Santa Monica is a nonprofit corporation that provides health and safety education, youth services, CPR and first aid training, disaster awareness and disaster relief efforts.

Information, (310) 394-3773 or www.redcrossofsantamonica .org/.

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