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Independent Voice

Dixon Community Christmas Program Shifts into Gear

Oct 16, 2020 12:00AM ● By By Debra Dingman

(L-R) A volunteer Travis Airman, Pam Murdoch, Gwen Morgan, Delia Venegas, Monica Sepulveda, Jasmine Mayo and Marina Carpio volunteer at the Cornerstone Baptist Church Food Pantry. Courtesy Photo

DIXON, CA (MPG) - You won't be hearing much about the local version of the Toys for Tots this holiday but you will be hearing about the rebranding of it to the Dixon Community Christmas Program now gearing up for its 54th year.

"Under the umbrella of our local programs, was the Toys for Tots name and that is a trademarked name belonging to the US marines, so we can't use it anymore," explained Marina Carpio, Treasurer of the organization. "But we also want to put it out there [that there is still] the community program… [that is] the Dixon Community Christmas Program. Everything is run completely in town."

After the original organizer, Ted Hickman, recently retired, new leadership stepped in including Jack Caldwell as President, Mike Hamilton as Vice President while Leah Marlin is Secretary and Carpio is Treasurer. They have worked diligently to get legal paperwork updated, goals established, volunteers in place, and now, making sure everyone stays safe while the programs run well in their respective areas this year.

"There have been a ton of awesome people come on this past year and we're looking to continue the program and update it. It's been a wild year so it will be baby steps forward," she said referring to legal paperwork. "We will get a website up soon and would like to expand throughout the year to remind people what we do."

They are also working on some programs that will require modifications with the COVID restrictions. For example, they won't be able to allow children and families to go into a 'coat room' and choose what they want due to safety issues but they will run a ‘coat room' again in the future.

"We are still accepting coat donations," Carpio said. "The coat give-away will be changed to a one-on-one basis as we are still trying to keep people safe. We've worked long and hard and just had another meeting in regard to the safety of Santa and Mrs. Claus. The children will not sit on Santa's lap. We have to modify this year and it's hard and tough because you want everyone to have the chance to have a personal time with Santa." She's confident they will figure it out.

Right now, they are trying to figure out where they're going as the Dixon May Fair is not open to them but they do know for sure they will do the toys and meet up with Santa the week of Christmas.

Several groups have already promised assistance such as 4-H, the American Legion Post 208 and Women's Auxiliary, DHS Key Club, and Kiwanis.

The first of what will most likely be numerous toy collections is this weekend, Saturday, October 17, 10 am to 6 pm. There will be a drive-through Holiday Toy Drive at 1305 North First Street at the Veteran's Memorial Hall.

People are asked to bring a new, unwrapped toy and/or canned food for the holiday food drive organized by volunteers of Cornerstone Baptist Church. Someone will be outside to collect toys or canned foods as one drives through the hall parking lot.

For more information, email: [email protected] or call Carpio at (916) 838-0997.