Hundreds of Galt children had a brighter Christmas after receiving presents on Dec. 19 during the Galt Toy Drive.

At the drive, volunteers handed out bags of toys to more than 260 families with almost 500 children, said Laurel Schamber, Cosumnes Fire Department’s public education officer. The drive is organized in partnership with the Galt Police Department, and those helping distribute presents included fire department interns and Galt police cadets.

Rows upon rows of big paper bags filled the fire department facility on Second and Guild streets, with toys like stuffed animals, art supplies and basketballs waiting to go out to children in need. Wrapping paper, bows and other supplies were also available for recipients.

Including Cosumnes Fire’s other toy drive in Elk Grove, roughly 800 local children received presents this year. The two drives have been held for roughly 26 years.

“So we’re getting close to 1,000 kids. The only way that they were able to have a good Christmas was from the generosity and caring of our communities because it’s solely donation-based,” Schamber said in a phone interview.

Noting the dedication of the drive volunteers, she said that “we have a great community that not only donates toys but time, and sometimes you can’t put a price on time.”

To make the toy pick-up an event for children, Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus were on hand for pictures, and the children got packages of hot chocolate and cookies to enjoy at home.

Schamber puts a lot of time into ensuring the toy drive brings as much fun as possible to the children who attend, even delaying her own Christmas shopping until the last minute.

No one should have a “disappointing” Christmas growing up, Schamber said when asked what motivates her to organize the drive. “It’s absolutely for the kids. It breaks my heart to know that kids would be let down on Christmas if it weren’t for all of us pulling together and doing the toy drive.”

With the community’s generosity, Schamber added, “I guarantee each one of those kids is going to have an amazing Christmas.”