As early as 1937, local firefighters were collecting old toys, repairing and distributing them to make holidays brighter for Chino children in need.
By 1940, Chino firefighters were delivering toys throughout a 132-square-mile area, “sending trucks into every corner of the fire district on Christmas Eve,” according to an article in the Chino Champion newspaper.
That charitable idea continues with the 14th annual Make A Child Smile program, to be held Wednesday, Dec. 7 at the Walmart Supercenter in Chino.
It is a sponsor-funded program run by the Chino Valley Fire Foundation, a non-profit organization that has merged charitable activities with the Chino Valley Professional Firefighters in an effort to better serve the Chino Valley community.
Make A Child Smile began in 2002, when 34 students were each given $100 to shop for gifts. Since then, it has helped approximately 1,083 children shop for holiday treasures.
This year’s event will benefit 100 students with a $150 shopping spree each, a “Code Three” fire- and police-escorted bus ride to the store, photos with Santa, crafts, food, snow play, and commemorative t-shirts.
We cannot thank Chino Valley firefighters, Walmart, and other community partners enough for providing these children with a day they will never forget!