Merced County Times Newspaper
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Beverly Barela

CHP’s annual toy drive kicks off at Starbucks in Atwater

Community members enjoyed the 10th annual CHP toy drive kick-off on Dec. 8 at Starbucks in the Applegate Ranch shopping center in Atwater.

Among others, CHP Commander Becky Hagen, Officer Lori Gonzalez and Lieutenant Gil Peirsol were on hand to welcome the guests.

Children inside Starbucks sipped complimentary hot chocolate and sat on Santa’s lap to confide their secret wishes to receive special holiday gifts.

Outside, they waved at Chipper, the CHP mascot, who was Officer Kaleb Miles.

The Santas for the event were Bob Erickson of Cattleman’s and Joey Machado.

Eric Zuniga, the CHP Public Information Officer for the Merced area who is stationed at 1500 Bell Drive in Atwater, explained, “M-MIG Construction, Starbucks and CHP are networking to put on this event.  Starbucks is hosting and organized it.”

He continued, “People bring a toy or other donation and enter a raffle.  Periodically, we’ll raffle off a gift basket.  The toys are going to United Way, Aspiranet, St. Vincent de Paul in Planada, and the Merced County Adoption Agency.”

He exclaimed, “The donations stay in the county, and that’s why we do it!”

Adding to the enjoyment were treats contributed by Pizza Factory and Jantz Café.

Cheesy Grill, a food truck featuring grilled cheese sandwiches, donated 10 percent of its profits during the event to the fundraiser.

Valley Vintage Car Club displayed cars as old as 1937, but most were 1956’s.

Howard Boles, the car club’s president for the past two years, said, “We brought nine cars here and donated gifts for the drive.”

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