The holidays will be a little brighter this season for thousands of children thanks to the generosity of people that donated toys during this year’s annual Caltrain Holiday Train, presented by Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Last weekend, approximately 25,000 people converged on Peninsula train stations to see the glittering show train, hear holiday tunes, see Santa and his friends, and donate toys to children in need.
Nearly 2,500 toys and almost $2,500 was collected during Holiday Train weekend. Toys donated at stations benefit The Salvation Army Season of Sharing Program. A $15,000 donation made to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program by the Holiday Train was able to purchase approximately 1,500 toys for the non-profit organization. Since the first Holiday Train in 2001, more than 55,000 toys have been distributed to Bay Area children who otherwise might not receive gifts at Christmas.
Community support is a hallmark of the Holiday Train. Working at the San Francisco rail yard at Sixth and Townsend streets, volunteers spent every Saturday for two months decorating the train. Ambassadors at train stations helped pass out candy canes, programs and stickers. Local entertainers provided free entertainment at each station before the train arrived. Those people who volunteered to wear a holiday character costume were rewarded by the delighted response of the thousands of families who turned out for the event.
The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous financial support of Silicon Valley Community Foundation. Financial considerations forced the Holiday Train to go “dark” in 2010. In 2012, Silicon Valley Community Foundation stepped up to bring the beloved tradition back to the Peninsula by donating the seed money to get it started again. Over the five-year partnership, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has also helped Caltrain solicit donors to keep the train going. For the 2016 season, the Holiday Train collected $50,500 in sponsorships.
Silicon Valley Community Foundation has extended its support of the Holiday Train through 2018.
Handel Sunrise Foundation is the lead sponsor. The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation and Meriwest Credit Union are “Conductor” sponsors. Robert Half International, Xilinx and the Mountain View Chamber of Commerce are “Station” sponsors. The “Railway” sponsor is the Downtown San Mateo Association.
Bayside Equipment Company of Redwood City donated the use of a generator to light up the decorations. Other in-kind sponsors include Jim’s Handyman Services, Locanda Positano, Nothing Bundt Cakes in San Carlos and Millbrae, Peterson Technical Services and the Subway store located in the San Francisco Caltrain Station.
About Caltrain: Owned and operated by the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board, Caltrain provides commuter rail service from San Francisco to San José, with limited commute service to Gilroy. Caltrain has enjoyed five years of ridership increases, surpassing more than 60,000 average weekday riders earlier this year. While the Joint Powers Board assumed operating responsibilities for the service in 1992, the railroad celebrated 150 years of continuous passenger service in 2014. Planning for the next 150 years of Peninsula rail service, Caltrain is on pace to electrify the corridor, reduce diesel emissions by 97 percent by 2040 and add more service to more stations.
About Silicon Valley Community Foundation: Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. As the largest community foundation in the world, we engage donors and corporations from Silicon Valley, across the country and around the globe to make our region and world better for all. Our passion for helping people and organizations achieve their philanthropic dreams has created a global philanthropic enterprise committed to the belief that possibilities start here. Learn more at siliconvalleycf.org.
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