In the holiday spirit, the American Red Cross of Santa Monica will hold its 17th annual “Spark of Love” toy drive this year, benefiting needy children and teens in the surrounding communities.

Youth volunteers with the Red Cross, KABC Channel 7 and Santa Monica Fire Department will be collecting new unwrapped toys or sports equipment at the Santa Monica Red Cross or any SMFD station now through Friday, Dec. 24.

Every contribution counts, but toys, games, books, school supplies and items appropriate for 14 to 18 year olds are sorely needed.

Last year, the drive collected over 600,000 toys in the five-county area. The goal this year is to double that number, making many children’s holidays that much brighter.

Deserving families interested in signing up to receive toys for their children can stop by their local Red Cross chapter or use the online registration form at www.redcrossofsantamonica.org.

Items can be dropped off during business hours at the Santa Monica Red Cross chapter at 1450 11th St. or any of the following SMFD stations: Station 121 at 1444 Seventh St., Station 122 at 222 Hollister Ave. near Second Street, Station 123 at 1302 19th St. at Arizona Avenue, and Station 125 at 2450 Ashland Ave., south of Ocean Park Boulevard.

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