For those who successfully signed up, you will be receiving a text or email the first week in December with instructions for pickup, including location and time slot.
Adrian Sheppard, Richmond Fire Chief, President
Ben Therriault, Richmond Police Officers Association, Vice President
Cindy Haden, RPD Chaplain/Crime Prevention, Secretary
Julie Wong, RPD Crime Prevention Board Member, Treasurer
Veronica Robles, Chevron Community Engagement
Greg Bosworth, Chevron Fire Chief
Anita Retzinger, E.M. Downer YMCA
Shahad Wright, Community Member
Pamela Jones, Richmond Rotary
Joey Schlemmer, Richmond Police Dept. Ret'd
Michelle Milam, Richmond Police Dept.
Carmen Santana, Richmond Police Dept.
Rico Rincon, Richmond Fire Dept.
Luis Padilla, Richmond Fire Dept.
West County families need your help. Many families struggle to make ends meet during the holidays. You can help a family having tough times. Please consider making a tax deductible donation.
The joy of watching kids opening their presents is something most parents look forward to at Christmas. Sadly, some families don't get to see that joy because they can't afford presents or even a nice meal.
In 1989, Richmond firefighter Rod Woods (now retired) saw the need in the community and organized a small local toy drive to help families in need. At the same time and separately, the Richmond Police Department also saw the need in the community, only their focus was on providing families with food for that special meal and beyond.
After many years of growing their separate programs, and having outgrown the space at the Booker T. Anderson Community Center where the event took place, Fire and Police decided to unite as one entity and file for non-profit status so they could get corporate sponsors to help more families. Chevron Fire stepped up and continues their support. El Cerrito Fire also joined for a time.
The E.M. Downer YMCA stepped up to offer a larger space in their gym, as well as providing support for the sign-ups, administrative support and smiles all around. The program went from serving over 500 families with toys and food to over 1,500 with the addition of a chance to win a donated bicycle.
Corporate sponsors such as Chevron, Mechanics Bank, Richmond Sanitary, Richmond Rotary, Sims Metal, Costco, the Courtyard by Marriott and many others stepped up to the plate to offer not only money, but volunteers who helped with toy bagging, food bagging and at the event itself, handing out bags, helping to carry bags, handling the bike giveaway and much more. There were bikes to build, trucks to drive to pick up toys, bikes, food and chicken. Fire and Police, along with community volunteers, came together to make it happen. The Richmond Police Explorers helped with the logistics and keeping the lines in order, and also with assisting those needing help carrying the bags of toys and food.
Rod Woods was the heart and soul of the program. His outgoing personality, ability to talk people into giving support in many forms will be missed.
One day in December, children flock to the EM Downer YMCA in Richmond. Through a lottery, some kids win a bike and some don’t. The more bikes, the more happy kids. Simple. So buy a kid a bike: $59/each (includes helmet). For more than 1 bike, enter an amount or write a check in multiples of $59.
Mail checks payable to Richmond Rotary Club, to 3260 Blume Drive, Suite 410 Richmond, CA 94806
What does serving hundreds of families look like? It looks like this!