Record Number of Items Collected at Channel Islands Harbor Holiday Food & Toy Drive

Ventura County families in need will receive much-needed food and toys this holiday season thanks to the Holiday Food & Toy Drive hosted this past weekend at Fisherman’s Wharf in the Channel Island Harbor.

An estimated 2,200 toys were collected to benefit the Spark of Love Toy Drive and more than 5,000 lbs of non-perishable food and money donations of nearly $14,000 were given to benefit the Food Share of Ventura County. The money donations alone will provide over 41,000 meals.

“Thank you so much to the Channel Islands Harbor and the community for this amazing support for Food Share,” said Jennifer Caldwell, Food Share’s Chief Development Officer. “This could be the biggest community food drive I’ve ever seen in Food Share history.”

Ventura County Fire Department Public Information Officer Brian McGrath said the efforts at the Channel Islands Harbor will help benefit at least 2,000 families in Ventura County.

“We couldn’t be more appreciated of the Channel Islands Harbor and all communities throughout Ventura County who have donated toys that will go to those families most in need,” McGrath said. “For their first toy drive, the Harbor community really exceeded expectations.”

On Saturday, Dec. 12, the Ventura County Harbor Department and the Harbor & Beach Community Alliance (HBCA) teamed up to host the first Channel Islands Harbor Holiday Food & Toy Drive.

During the event, donations were accepted at a drop off location at Fisherman’s Wharf by dozens of HBCA and community volunteers, Harbor Department staff, and fire department volunteers.

“Thanks to the efforts of all the volunteers, the Holiday Food & Toy Drive was a huge success,” said Rene Aiu, HBCA member. “We live in a great and generous community. There were so many great heart felt stories from people and even children saying why they came to give. What wonderful experiences we got to share.”

Harbor Department Director Mark Sandoval said he couldn’t be more happy with the outcome.

“This event was amazing,” Director Sandoval said. “Everyone involved in the planning underestimated how well we would do. The community and volunteers really stepped up to help deliver what we hope will be joy and great memories for families in need this holiday season.”

Editor's Note: this story was published on December 14, 2020.