Port of Redwood City: Why This Event Made Our Day

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This Story Will Cheer You Up

Back row from left to right: Firefighter Jose Florendo,  Miss Santa Clara Shaylynn Graydon, Port Commission Chairman Simms Duncan, Port Commissioner Ralph Garcia, (partially hidden Director of Finance & Administration Rajesh Sewak),  former Port Commissioner Larry Aikins, Redwood City Fire Captain Clendon Chan. Front row from left to right: Port Commissioners Dick Dodge, Lorianna Kastrop, and Dick Claire; and Firefighter-Paramedic Stephen Paulazzo.

The Port of Redwood City’s annual holiday party collected four barrels of toys for the popular Redwood City/San Mateo County Toy Drive  (http://rwcsmctoydrive.com/) , which is a cooperative effort that is orchestrated by members of public safety in San Mateo  County, including San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office,  Redwood City Police and Fire Departments, Police Activities League, Woodside Fire, San Carlos Fire, San Mateo Sheriff’s Activities League and CARON program.

According to the website, the annual drive is a true community event.  It begins at the Fair Oaks Community Center in Redwood City, where low-income families verify that they meet the qualifications of the program.  The family is then assigned a number that represents their address, number of children, age and gender.  At that point, the number and information attached to it are passed to the teams who organize multiple events that lead to the ultimate distribution of the toys.

The first event is the annual wrapping party at Red Morton Community Center.  The toys are then distributed over the course of three delivery nights.  The teams are led by Santa who is accompanied by volunteers from police, fire, sheriff’s department and their families.  These teams set out to deliver the toys and an unforgettable holiday experience to the assigned families.  This has become a very popular event and it’s not uncommon for City and County managers, city council members, Supervisors and other community champions riding shotgun as St. Nick’s helpers on the deliveries.

Also very popular is the pick-up parties that are hosted in Redwood City, San Carlos, Half Moon Bay and Pescadero where the families come to pick up their toys.  Some parents come alone to keep the gifts a surprise for the holiday morning and others come as a family to receive their gifts from Santa.  It is a festive party with family activities and games to play before meeting with Santa.

The toys and books that support the Redwood City/San Mateo County Toy Drive program are donated by community members from the following four sources:

Businesses around the community sponsor toy barrel drop offs.

  • San Carlos, Woodside and Redwood City Fire Station, Redwood City Police Department or San Mateo County Sheriff Headquarters Patrol or San Carlos Patrol Bureau drop offs.
  • Holiday Parties.  Individuals or businesses in our community host Holiday parties with a “Toy/Book Theme.”
  • Financial donations that contribute to the purchase of new toys, books and materials needed for the program.

If you are interested in having a toy and book collection barrel, volunteering, or making a donation to the program, please contact:

  • Deputy Victor Lopez, San Mateo County Sheriff’s Office


Firefighters from L to R:  Firefighter Jose Florendo, Firefighter-Paramedic Stephen Paulazzo and Captain Clendon Chan, along with Miss Santa Clara Shaylynn Graydon.

Port of Redwood City  |  675 Seaport Blvd  |  Redwood City, CA 94063