The “Community United By Service for Kids Toy and School Supply Drive,” a donation drive organized by UCPD after the destruction from the Camp Fire, is coming to a close as more than 4,500 donated items are being delivered throughout the local area.
Led by UCPD Capt. Alex Yao, the charity campaign was launched to help the young victims of the Camp Fire. Yao said in an email that although he heard news reports of everyday necessities that were donated to the area affected by the fire, there was little mention of items that may “comfort and possibly provide a little sense of normalcy for children during the holiday season.”
As a parent of two young children, Yao said in an email that he wanted to take action to help parents and children who were affected by the Camp Fire. The donation drive brought together more than 60 departments and buildings with more than 80 donation locations across the UC Berkeley campus.
Local residents and businesses from the South Bay and Marin County also dropped off items at donation locations, resulting in more than 4,500 toys and school-supply items collected. Yao said in an email that because the donations exceeded expectations, the drive was able to provide toys to victims of the Carr Fire as well.
“Some have family members who were affected by the fire and others know someone who were victims of this disaster,” Yao said in an email. “Once this charity drive was publicly announced, it was clear that there was a tremendous amount of interest from our community to help.”
After sorting and packaging the donations, UCPD loaded them Dec. 20 into patrol cars, buses provided by the campus parking and transportation services and a mail van from the campus mail services. The donations were then sent to the California State University, Chico Police Department, where UCPD then turned the donations over to the representative from the Butte County Office of Education, the Paradise Unified School District, the Butte County Sheriff’s Office and the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office.
Some of the donations were given to a local preschool with young fire victims, a local hospital where many children are currently being hospitalized, children of Chico State employees, and victims at a local shelter and safe house for women and children escaping domestic violence.
“We’ve received overwhelming sentiments of appreciation, both from the recipients and the members of the public, for what the Cal community has done for the victims of the Camp and Carr Fires and the compassion that our community has shown,” Yao said in an email. “I do want to emphasize that this is just the beginning of the recovery and healing process for the fire victims.”