Public Safety

Lowriders and Law Enforcement Team Up for Toy Drive

Santa Claus with his toy bag outside a San Diego County Probation car.
Santa Claus helped Probation officers deliver donated toys to children last year. The toys were collected from the 2018 Toy Drive and Car Show.

The San Diego County Probation Department, volunteers and various lowrider car clubs will be hosting a Toy Drive and Car Show that will include a visit from Santa on Sunday, Dec. 8 at Southwestern College.

The event runs, rain or shine, from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. at the college’s parking lot C. You want to enter your car? The cost of admission is a new unwrapped toy. The event is free to the public, but officers and volunteers will be collecting toy donations to help 45 pre-selected families who might otherwise not have extra money for children’s gifts.

The families, which include 102 children, are chosen by officers from among their adult and juvenile probation caseloads and from students who are part of the Student Leadership Academy program at Probation’s four adopted elementary schools.

“This is the heartwarming part of the job,” said San Diego County Probation Chief Adolfo Gonzales. “Helping our clients attain their goals and be successful is one of our core missions. Providing an opportunity for them and their families to have a joyful and cheerful holiday season is a great way to help them get through the holidays and reach their goals”

The family-friendly Toy Drive and Car Show will include music, a kids zone that includes a balloon artist, face painting, a visit with Santa and, weather permitting, a jump house, and a taco stand with partial proceeds going to help buy gift cards for teens.

Local law enforcement agencies, including Chula Vista and San Diego police departments, the San Diego County Sheriff’s Department, the U.S. Border Patrol, and San Diego City Schools Police will bring their showcase department vehicle, hot rod or monster truck and will judge the cars entered. Each agency will award a trophy to their favorite car.

A red lowrider car parked in front of several tables with donated toys at a previous year's event.
Here are some of the toys collected at a previous Probation Department Toy Drive and Car Show.

Toys from the event will be spread out among the children in the leadership program and Probation clients.

Probation officers will distribute the toys, and ingredients for a holiday meal, to the families on Dec. 21.

The holiday toy and food distribution has grown from just 10 families in 2006 to 45 this year, said Mayra Nunez, Probation community engagement liaison.

This is the first time the department is gathering all the families in one office and they want to make it fun for the children, she said. The department will transform one area of their South Bay office into a Santa’s Workshop for the kids to visit with Santa. The children will be able to choose one toy that day and take home a wrapped present to open on Christmas. Teenagers will be given gift cards since they may no longer be interested in toys. Nunez said officers and volunteers will be delivering to the families in the North County, since it would be hard for them to drive to the South Bay.

For event information, contact Nunez at (858) 229-0809.

Yvette Urrea Moe is a communications specialist with the County of San Diego Communications Office. Contact