Standing on the side of Citrus Street, near Magic Mountain Parkway, were members of the Canyon Country Optimist Club holding decorative signs and encouraging residents to donate and participate in the holiday spirit on Saturday.
From 2 to 3 p.m. the club welcomed non-perishable canned food and toiletries to donate to the Santa Clarita Valley Food Pantry. In addition, a fire truck was parked near the corner of the road, down the street from the Los Angeles County Fire Department Station 126, to collect toys in conjunction with the L.A. County Fire Department’s Spark of Love Toy Drive.
Carmen Gilmore, president of the Optimist Club, elaborated on the five-year tradition, and credited member Vivian Lawrence’s efforts in coordinating the event.
“We’re all volunteers, and we set up different events that focus on children. So this is one of the events that we partnered up with the L.A. County Fire Department,” Gilmore said. “This idea came about because Vivian’s husband used to work at that station. He retired, and that’s why she set this up about five years ago. We’ve been doing it ever since.”
While the Optimist Club strives to bring joy to the children of the city year-round, this would only be plausible with the help of other residents who participate, as well.
“We just partnered up with the kids at Val Verde Park, and we bought them backpacks at the beginning of the school year filled with school supplies. We’re just trying everything to make kids’ lives a little bit better and happier,” Gilmore said. “We are always looking for members. So the more members we have, the more good we can do in our community.”