Yesterday the BACC hosted its annual Holiday Celebration service at the Santa Clara Convention Center, which saw thousands in attendance from all over the Bay. For the fifth year in a row, XCED organized and held a charity toy drive. This annual toy drive has become one of the biggest toy drives in Northern California. This year XCED had one of its most successful events to-date with over 1,600 toys donated (400 more than last year’s toy drive).
The toy drive has evolved into a Bay Area community service landmark event. In the five years since its inception, over 8,600 toys have been donated to various agencies from both sides of the Bay. Of the 10,000 kids in Bay Area foster homes, over 5,000 of them have received support from XCED via 15 different agencies.
Over 50 teens participated in the drive, manning the collection tables at the Holiday Celebration Service, or by setting up bins and drives at their schools and local business. One West Bay Christian School student was even able to make it their school’s official community service project, allowing for more students to get involved who had not yet heard of XCED.
“I was crying at my desk on Friday because I realized I had so many teenagers who I didn’t have any gifts for,” Lisvet Carillo-Herrera, a representitive from Santa Clara Socials (which serves over 500 foster children) shared. “I came with hope of finding gifts for them and am so grateful to have received thousands of dollars worth of gift cards for these teenagers.”
It’s been a big and ambitious year for the organization, which is comprised primarily of high school volunteers in the Bay Area. Earlier in the year they published a children’s book entitled “Better Together,” which addresses the complex emotions surrounding growing up with a sibling with special needs. The story was inspired by XCED member’s own experiences. Sharing their experiences has raised awareness as well has helped many in families with special needs.
Here are some highlights from this year’s toy drive:
- Over 1,600 toys donated
- Most gift cards ever received
- Most cash in donations ever received
- Most agencies ever donated to on one day – Bananas Incorporated, United Advocates of Children & Families of Alameda, A Better Way, Sleep Train, UCSF, California Pacific Medical Center, Unity Care, Santa Clara Social Services
- Agencies represented from all five major counties in the Bay Area – Contra Costa, Santa Clara, San Mateo, San Francisco and Alameda