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Richmond YMCA toy giveaway founded by firefighter

on December 17, 2014

Richmond firefighter Rod Woods started the annual Toy Giveaway 27 years ago, when he was first hired.

“I told the Lord I would give back,” Woods said.

This was his way of giving back. Woods was seven years old when his own family was in need during the holidays.

“Somebody knocked on the front door of our house and ran,” Woods said. “They left gifts and food for our family.”

And it’s this memory that made him want to give back to the low-income families in Richmond during the holiday season.

With volunteers and donors such as the Richmond Police Department, Chevron and Mechanics Bank, the toy drive has come a long way in the past 27 years.

Now a non-profit organization, the give away’s mission statement on the web reads, “As professional firefighters, we see the ravages brought on by the loss of both homes and property… Both monetary donations and donations of new, unwrapped toys are accepted throughout the calendar year.”

The toy drive started almost three decades ago with just 50 families. This year they expect 1,200 families, and will give out about 5,000 toys.

The give away will be on Dec. 20 at the YMCA in Richmond.

Woods hopes that the program will continue when he is no longer able to do it himself.

“It’ll be hard to find someone who wants to do all that work. It’s a full time job really. But I don’t want the program to die,” Woods said.

Donated toys and food baskets can be delivered to any fire station in Richmond.


  1. John Spartan on December 17, 2014 at 5:36 pm

    Thank you Rod Woods!!!! Great personal story of giving back to your community!

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