Holiday Train Collects More than 3,000 Toys for Local Children

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

During Holiday Train weekend, held December 1 & 2, approximately 30,000 people converged on Peninsula train stations to experience the glittering show train, holiday tunes, Santa and his friends and take the opportunity to donate toys for children in need.

Approximately 1,976 toys and nearly $2,000 were collected during Holiday Train weekend. An additional 359 toys were collected by San Mateo County Transit District employees and the SamTrans Stuff A Bus Toy Drive. Additionally, nearly 700 toys were collected by Silicon Valley Community Foundation employees and by organizations that sponsored the 2018 event. This season’s Holiday Train brought in a total of 3,035 toys.

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 enabled the purchase of approximately 1,500 toys for the non-profit organization. Since the Holiday Train’s inception in 2001, more than 60,000 toys have been distributed to Bay Area children who otherwise might not have received gifts at Christmas.

Community support is a hallmark of the Holiday Train. Working at the San Francisco rail yard, volunteers spent every Saturday for two months decorating the train. Ambassadors at train stations helped pass out candy canes, programs and stickers to joyous onlookers. Local artists and vendors provided free entertainment at each station before the train arrived. Those 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 seven-year partnership, Silicon Valley Community Foundation has also helped Caltrain solicit donors to keep the train going. For the 2018 season, the Holiday Train collected more than $50,000 in sponsorships. 

Community Support

The Holiday Train would not be possible without the generous support of our sponsors.

 Stanford Children’s Health was our lead sponsor. Speck and the Handel Sunrise Foundation were our station and freight sponsors. Locomotive sponsors were Analog Devices, The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation and Intero Real Estate Services. Our railway sponsor was Robert Half.

Media sponsors included The Daily Journal, The San Francisco Examiner, 96.5 KOIT, 98.5 KFOX and 102.9 KBLX

Bayside Equipment Company of Redwood City donated the use of a generator to light up the decorations, and Classic Graphics donated services to re-wrap the gingerbread house sound booth. Other in-kind sponsors include Jim’s Handyman Services, Classic Graphics, 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 consecutive monthly ridership increases, surpassing more than 65,000 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.

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About Silicon Valley Community Foundation

Silicon Valley Community Foundation advances innovative philanthropic solutions to challenging problems. 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


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