Inside Seven
Current Issue: September 2014
In the final days of the charitable toy and food drive, employees continued to show their generosity with donated goods.

A Brighter Holiday for Others
by  Maria Raptis
Issue Date: 01/2010

Despite economic struggles, topped by furloughs, District 7 staff demonstrate their generosity during the Holiday Toy and Canned Food Drive.

This holiday season at Caltrans was like a Hollywood holiday movie when the story leads us to where life -- and other things -- are not so merry and bright for someone --- then, a miracle happens.

Despite economic struggles, topped by furloughs, District 7 staff demonstrated their generosity during this season’s Holiday Toy and Canned Food Drive. In the final days of the drive, an overwhelming amount of contributions from Caltrans staff were collected for two downtown Los Angeles missions and a food bank in time to distribute to those in need.

Like all District 7 projects, we met our goal to collect and donate new toys for children of all ages, new winter clothing and canned food. Just in time before the December 21 deadline, toys, new clothing and food poured into the red cage, a District 7 relic that resurfaces annually in the District Office’s lobby museum area to serve the important functions of storing and safeguarding donations. Joining the District-wide drive again this year were the four Maintenance regions and Special Crews, whose support and participation helped to put this year’s drive over the top in just 12 working days, from December 1 to 21.

“I know we all had a difficult year with the mandated furloughs and a brutal economy, yet you dug deep into your pockets,” said Rick Land, Interim District 7 Director. “Let’s continue with this spirit for a better year ahead. Thank you for providing a happier holiday and a glimmer of hope for those who face much more challenging times than us.”

Three well-established nonprofit organizations, Union Rescue Mission, the Los Angeles Mission and the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank, were recipients of the donations.  In total, the donations amounted to 16 large bags of new toys, 3 large bags of clothing, and 7 boxes of canned goods.

“Both Missions and the Food Bank are very appreciative of District 7 employees and their generosity,” said Yessica Jovel, the District’s 2009 Holiday Toy and Food Drive coordinator. Last year the missions made several trips to the District Office to continue picking up gifts and food, even after the drive officially ended. The donations kept pouring in and the participation and support of the Maintenance Regions helped to show Caltrans as a first-class, dependable state agency.”

The Food Bank, the most recent addition nonprofit organization included in this year’s drive, provides food and necessities for low-income families, children and senior citizens throughout the county. The Los Angeles Mission has served the homeless population and less fortunate for over 70 years, held its annual event on December 24. Thousands of guests were served a traditional meal and gifts were distributed to all children who attended and many of those gifts were donated by Caltrans employees. The Union Rescue Mission creates a store-like setting to disburse the donations; parents shop for their children and volunteers wrap the gifts. They also have a ‘Gifts for Mothers’ section where children, in turn, shop for their moms. The Union Rescue Mission was established in 1891, and is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and is the oldest in Los Angeles.


Alfonso Maldonado, of the Los Angeles Mission, arrives on December 22 to collect three large bags of clothing, nine bags of toys and some canned food.