Contributed by Caltrain:
The holiday season will be a little brighter for thousands of children thanks to the generosity of people who donated toys during the Caltrain Holiday Train, presented by Silicon Valley Community Foundation, Dec. 1 and 2.
The record-breaking storm passing through the Bay Area didn’t put a damper on the enthusiasm of the thousands of people who came to the train stations to see the glittering spectacle and donate a toy to a child.
Nearly 3,000 toys collected at the event were donated to The Salvation Army and the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program. Since the first Holiday Train in 2001, approximately 45,000 gifts have been distributed to needy Bay Area children.
The Holiday Train, a beloved holiday institution, returned to the Peninsula after a two-year hiatus, thanks to the generous support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. The Foundation provided a $50,000 seed grant to support the event, which generated more than $30,000 in donations from the community. In addition to corporate donations, the event also attracted individual donations from people in attendance.
Volunteer support is a hallmark of the community event. Working at the San Francisco rail yard at Sixth and Townsend streets, volunteers spent weeks decorating the train. Ambassadors at train stations helped pass out candy canes and programs. Local entertainers provided free entertainment at each station before the train arrived. Those people who volunteered to wear a holiday character costume were rewarded by the delighted response of the thousands of children who turned out for the event in spite of the passing storm.
Thousands of children and adults came out to see the spectacularly lighted train, which visited eight train stations between San Francisco and Santa Clara over the weekend. Kids of all ages got a chance to meet Mr. and Mrs. Claus, Rudolph, Frosty and other holiday characters and enjoy music provided by the San Francisco Corps of the Salvation Army band and on-board choruses.