Long-time annual Christmas tradition continues amid COVID-19

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EUREKA, Calif. (KIEM)-Humboldt Bay Fire and Salvation Army of Eureka will continue their long-time annual Christmas tradition for both kids and seniors.

“It is time for the toy drive, we just started our collection efforts,” said Community Risk Reduction Specialist Amy Conlin with Humboldt Bay Fire.

Their goal is to collect as many new and unwrapped toys as possible, leading up to Christmas.

“You’ll see our red barrels all over town in different locations,”said Conlin.

Firefighter Wyatt Esola, also with Humboldt Bay Fire, helped organize the toy drive.

“This is the longest going toy drive in the area, I mean, there is a lot of tradition to it,” he said. “We do a lot on duty but we pride ourselves on what we do off duty and this is just one of we are able to do in our community to really give back.”

Humboldt Bay Fire is working alongside the Salvation Army of Eureka to help put a smile on kids’ faces through their “Share the Magic of Christmas” toy drive.

Lt. Loretta Dulay with the Salvation Army of Eureka says, COVID-19 has posed a challenge for them this year.

“It’s going to be a little harder for us to collect toys this year but we do have the barrels at Humboldt Bay Fire put out and we also have an angle tree at Walmart and other various locations,” she said.  

Angel Trees allow donors to buy toys for kids who parents may not have the means. 

“So these tags are printed up, we take applications for people that want to sign up for Christmas assistance and they give us an idea of what their child wants, their age, what they want, what they need, their clothing size,” she said.

Dulay says, nearly 600 children, signed up for the program this year, are expected to receive toys, their efforts are not exclusive to kids.

“With Santa for Seniors, we collect monetary donations,” said Conlin. “So, cash or checks ,and those go in collaboration with the senior resource center who purchases meals for seniors over the holiday season.” 

Those interested in helping with their efforts still have time.

“We are doing our drop-off until the 18th of December, you just have to look for these red barrels just like this,” said Wyatt.

Christmas and food applications can still be accessed by clicking here.

Dulay urges those interested in the program to apply early, there is a limit of 300 applications per year.