We’re an animal organization. So why do we organize a toy drive and give away countless gifts every year at East Rancho Dominguez Park in Compton? Because the truth is we’re not just a group of animal lovers who sweep into the community a couple times a month to sterilize some pets. We are part of the community. We share the same needs, the same hurts, and the same wishes. We are deeply rooted in the success of Compton’s animals, and also in Compton’s people. In its families and its children.

For a decade now, DDR has provided free spay/neuter surgeries, vaccinations, and microchips for all dogs living in Compton. Over the yeartoy-drives we have expanded our services to include other cities bordering the City of Compton proper, along with expanding the types of services we offer. To date, more than 10,000 dogs and cats have been spayed, neutered, vaccinated, and microchipped since that crisp December morning back in 2006 when we held our first mobile clinic at Tower of Faith Church. Then about three years ago, the park director approached us about helping to collect toys to brighten the holiday for a child in need living in Compton. One thing led to another, and next thing we knew we were organizing a toy drive for not just that one child, but for many children whose holiday we could brighten.

The tradition has continued and grown. This year’s giveaway is scheduled for Sunday, December 18th. Per usual, we will start the day early at 8 am, setting up tables and placing toys by age group. BARK reading dogs (trained therapy dogs who children can read out loud to in order to increase their confidence) will be part of the day, as will plenty of books, an arts and crafts station, and Santa Claus. Our goal is to send every child home with a new book as a way to encourage literacy, one of the keys to a brighter future. We love to watch fun being had at this event, but can’t put into words the expression on these kids’ faces when they’re given their presents. Most of us know that look of true joy and how fulfilling it is to witness. It’s like they’re being reminded of their spot on the planet, and of how unique and important and valued they are.

So I’m asking you, will you help us reach our goal of collecting 300 toys for the children of Compton? Will you help more kids feel seen and heard this holiday season ? Will you take a look at our Amazon Wish List and give with a full heart? Toys for children ages 8-10 years, specifically boys, are especially needed. We are thrilled to be of service to families living in some of the most undeserved areas of Los Angeles again this year, and to spread more holiday cheer. Please consider being a part of those smiles and know it also makes you part of the solution. We thank you in advance for your generosity.