Many of those who receive the assistance live in apartments with many family members or stay with relatives, Berg said.
Sheriff volunteers find families by contacting schools, which have a more personal relationship with children in need.
“We were told about one child who [on some days] comes to school in his pajamas because he does not have clothes,” Berg said.
Sgt. Randy Sulstrom added, “We also find families through church [organizations].”
The volunteers collect the items, sort and categorize according to age and gender and then begin building holiday packages for each family.
She said there is a real need for gifts suitable for pre-teens and teens. “We usually get a lot of toys for little kids like stuffed animals but what we really need is something for kids 12 to 16-years old.”
She suggests items like costume jewelry, purses or scarves for girls and soccer balls or sports equipment for boys are most appreciated.
“We also get a lot of canned goods but we like to supplement with pastas, soup mixes — anything that can stretch a long way,” she said.
Macaroni and cheese, hamburger and tuna helper mixes are very popular, Berg added.
The unwrapped toys can be taken to any of the drop-off points listed in the box accompanying this article.
There is a suggested retail price of at least $10 to help keep continuity in the gifts. Food should be non-perishable.
Cash is also needed for purchasing more toys and to help supplement food items.
“We also try to provide the families with a market gift certificate of at least $20,” Berg said.
Financial donations can be delivered to the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station, 4554 N. Briggs Ave., La Crescenta.