Volunteers with the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau work the assembly line to deliver thousands of gifts and food to Carlsbad families in need on Dec. 8 at the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad. Photo by Steve Puterski
Carlsbad Cities Community Community News

Local nonprofit shows Christmas spirit

CARLSBAD — For many, the Christmas season is about giving back.

Dozens of volunteers took last week to stockpile and deliver gifts for about 400 Carlsbad families at the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad’s Carlsbad Village location. On Dec. 8, residents lined their cars down the street as volunteers from the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau presented gifts to needy families so they can have a merry Christmas.

Dozens of volunteers took last week to stockpile and deliver gifts for about 400 Carlsbad families at the Boys & Girls Club of Carlsbad’s Carlsbad Village location. On Dec. 8, residents lined their cars down the street as volunteers from the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau presented gifts to needy families so they can have a merry Christmas.

“It was community leaders that saw a need in the community,” bureau President Tracy Carmichael said. “They started off with food baskets, then they threw some toys in and then made this about adopting families.”

The Carlsbad Christmas Bureau also teamed up with Bikes 4 the Barrio, a faction of the Carlsbad Hi-Noon Rotary Club, to gift 54 youth bikes to kids. In total, the bureau gifted 158 bikes, thousands of presents to 385 families and had about 100 volunteers work throughout the week.

Chad Majer started Bikes 4 the Barrio last year with a modest donation of six bikes. However, he partnered with the rotary club so the funds from the Carlsbad Brewfest were earmarked for the program.

Majer said the bikes were purchased at cost from Trek, one of the best companies manufacturing bicycles. Each bike also came with a helmet and lock.

Last week, he said a team of volunteers built the bikes at Pine Avenue Community Park and then rode in waves to the club for drop-off.

Majer said next year he is raising the stakes to collect enough money to donate between 200 to 300 bikes for low-income kids.

As for the Carlsbad Christmas Bureau, the organization has been going strong for at least 40 years, Carmichael said. Each year planning begins several months after Christmas.

In October, Carlsbad families (must show proof) register at the club, and this year families began lining up as early as 4:30 a.m., Carmichael said.

Each family fills out a card with a few specific gifts, typically for their kids, such as a skateboard, and clothing sizes. Residents then purchase those gifts and drop them off to the club, while the bureau organizes the donations into boxes.

In addition to partnerships with Bikes 4 the Barrio and the city of Carlsbad, which closes streets to move through hundreds of cars, Carlsbad Christmas Bureau also works closely with the Carlsbad Firefighters Association (the union).

As part of Operation Secret Santa, the Carlsbad Firefighters Association rides to numerous homeowners associations throughout the city to collect toys and canned food. Carmichael said those gifts are used to backfill the other donations for families.

“They go into three different neighborhoods with Santa on the fire truck,” she added.“That was Saturday and Sunday night (Dec. 1 and Dec. 2).”

To adopt a family, register as a family in need or volunteer for next year, visitchristmasbureau.org.

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