Toys, bikes and sports equipment — enough to fill the equivalent of 31 Orange County Transportation Agency buses.
That was the generous haul collected Friday, Dec. 18 during the annual “Spark of Love” toy drive, beating last year’s total of 27 buses stuffed to the gills with items bound for needy kids throughout Orange County.
“No child should go without a gift through the holidays,” Bri Winkler, a meteorologist with ABC7 Eyewitness News, told Anaheim Fire & Rescue Chief Randy Bruegman during a live interview in a parking lot of the Honda Center in Anaheim.
“Absolutely not,” responded Bruegman, who also is head of the Orange County Fire Chiefs Association.
Anaheim Fire & Rescue personnel joined their brethren from O.C.’s 10 other fire departments in stuffing into buses toys collected from sites throughout Orange County.
In addition to Santa Claus, there were several “Star Wars” character roaming around, apparently because of some recent large-scale movie release.
And listen up, folks: There still is time to donate new and unwrapped toys and bicycles for the “Spark of Love” drive. Donations will be accepted at any Orange County fire station through Dec. 24.
Friday’s event was sponsored by the Orange County Transportation Authority, ABC7, Honda Center and the Anaheim Ducks and culminated a toy drive that began after Thanksgiving.
The Orange County Toy Collaborative collects and distributes more than 300,000 toys to children who would otherwise go without presents during the holidays. The collaborative has successfully collected and distributed more than 7.5 million toys over the past two decades in support of Spark of Love and Toys for Tots donation programs.
The Orange County Fire Chiefs Association includes the leaders of 11 different fire agencies within the county including Anaheim, Brea, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Fullerton, Garden Grove, Huntington Beach, Laguna Beach, Newport Beach, Orange, and Orange County.
“I think this is a great event,” said Capt. Thanh Nguyen of the Garden Grove Fire Department. “It’s awesome to see the community come together and donate toys to somebody they don’t even know.”