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LBFD Spark of Love (SOL) Campaign Kicks Off

By frhayes | November 24, 2009

Spark of Love Program Description In the early 1950's, firefighter Murray Cohn started collecting toys for needy kids in the area surrounding his fire station.  This labor of love and generosity took root and grew to other crews in surrounding stations helping the cause and providing for even more kids.  Upon Cohn's retirement, Captain Jim Salisbury took over for several years.  Captain Bob Caldon (retired) ran the toy program for over 20 years, and now other LBFD members wishing to carry on the traditions from long ago have taken on the program, to help hundreds of needy families each year. In 1992, a cooperative decision was made to develop a regional toy drive.  Known as the "Spark of Love," local area fire departments have teamed with ABC Channel 7 for financial backing, supplies, and media coverage. Through the combined generosity of businesses and residents, each year the Spark of Love program provides gifts to kids throughout Long Beach who would have otherwise gone without.  Spark of Love works in conjunction with several other charitable organizations to both giving and receiving toys and donations.  Each year we provide toys for about 400 families and over 20 different community groups.  This builds goodwill within our community, and provides kids with positive role models. Teachers in the LBUSD identify special need families throughout the year.  Firefighters also see hardships in the areas they serve and can recommend families.  Toys are collected throughout the month at various city events, parties, local businesses, and from residents who drop the toys off at our fire stations.  The program runs as a result of numerous volunteer hours put forth by our LBFD firefighters, lifeguards, Ambassadors, and Honoraries.  Delivery are made to families and community organizations throughout the month of December, culminating in our CODE 3 Delivery Day where we make rounds all throughout the city with Santa in his fire engine sleigh.Donations should be new, unwrapped, toys, sports equipment, clothes, or school supplies.  Items for teens are also needed.  These items can be dropped off at any local area fire station, CVS Pharmacies, City Hall, or select local area business.  SOL also accepts monetary donations.  Checks should be made out to Friends of Long Beach Firefighters, Spark of Love.

Topics: News | 25 Comments »