Residents wishing to make an impact on the lives of needy children throughout Southwest Riverside are invited to take part in the Toys for Tots toy drive in Temecula and surrounding cities.
The collection stations, hosted by American Medical Response (AMR) ambulance service, are accepting unwrapped toy donations from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for the next two weekends outside of retail locations in Corona, Lake Elsinore, Norco and Temecula.
“AMR is such a great organization to drive this Toys for Tots program. They’re out there on the weekends helping those less fortunate,” said Temecula Kmart manager Steve Canada on Saturday.
Canada said that the reaction from customers over the weekend had been positive, with many emerging from their Christmas shopping inside the store with toys in hand.
AMR paramedic Lisa Larusso said that collection event has been successful over the years.
“Kmart is extremely generous to allow us to be here. Last year we collected over 5,000 toys and used over 20 ambulances to deliver the toys to Riverside County children,” Larusso said. “This is our third year with Kmart.”
Toy donations are accepted from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and on Dec. 8-9 and 15-16 at the following locations: Target (2615 Tuscany Street, Corona), Wal-Mart (31700 Grape Street, Lake Elsinore), Target (1290 Hamner Avenue, Norco) and Kmart (26471 Ynez Road, Temecula).
Temecula resident Kerina Johnson donated six toys to the pile on Saturday, totaling about $65.
“I always donate, every Christmas. I just believe every child deserves to open a present at Christmas,” Johnson said.
Johnson, a native of England, added that she has been supporting the Toys for Tots program for the 30 years that she has lived in the United States.
“It does make me feel good,” Johnson said, adding that she purchases toys that require no batteries and also strives to buy for older children, as well.
To learn more about American Medical Response’s various charitable events, visit www.amr.net.
*Daniel Lane contributed to this report.
Kerri S. Mabee can be reached at email@example.com. Follow me on Twitter @kerrimabee.