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Toy Collection Continues To Help Brighten Holiday
Escalon firefighter David Velasco, left, and Battalion Chief Dan Morriss look at a couple of the items that have been donated at the firehouse, one of the collection sites for the annual Christmas Toy Drive. Marg Jackson/The Times

There’s still time to donate to the Escalon Fire Department Christmas Toy Drive, being hosted in cooperation with the Escalon American Legion Post 263 and Escalon Police Department.

A one-day sign-up was hosted in late November and the collection boxes for toys are out in the community. Donations of new, unwrapped toys for all ages are being accepted through Wednesday, Dec. 16. Firefighters will then make the rounds of the city to collect the boxes.

Donated gift items will be divided up by both age group and gender, with gifts needed for both boys and girls, from infant to early teens. The drive-thru distribution is scheduled at the firehouse, 1749 Coley Ave., on Monday, Dec. 21.

The local effort was buoyed by a recent donation from Grass Ranch Pit Bike BMX on Buerer Lane, with dozens of items contributed to the drive.

Escalon Consolidated Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Dan Morriss said it was a welcome addition and the department was very appreciative of the collection done by the Grass Ranch crew.

A total of 46 families within the fire protection district signed up for the toy giveaway on Nov. 28; the number of children needing gifts varies in each family. Typically, there are well over 100 area youngsters that benefit from the effort.

Personnel from the fire and police departments, along with the Legion, will pre-package the gift items, separating them by age group, and then will deliver the bags curbside this year as opposed to having families come in to the firehouse to pick them up.

It is a change necessitated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Fire officials said they anticipate it will be a smooth operation and it’s something they wanted to make sure was done this year, especially in light of tough times many families are facing.

The giveaway itself will start at 9 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 21.

Collection boxes are available locally at Escalon Premier Brands, Dollar Tree, the City of Escalon, Oak Valley Bank, Mar Val, Pizza Plus, Mountain Mike’s, D’Boni’s Pizza, and Vineyard Pharmacy. Also, the Escalon Firehouse, Escalon Police Department, Family Dollar, Heritage Church, Bank of the West, American Legion Post 263, Hogan Manufacturing, Van Allen and Dent Elementary Schools, El Portal Middle School, Saron Lutheran, Escalon Christian Reformed and Trinity Church. Again, donations of new, unwrapped toys for all ages are requested, from birth to early teens.

For more information, contact the Escalon Fire Department at 209-838-7500.