This holiday season, the California Highway Patrol will be playing Santa by bringing joy to Santa Barbara’s less-fortunate families as they host their annual “CHiPs for Kids Toy Drive.

CHiPs for Kids, a project hosted by CHP in conjunction with Sizzler Restaurants, collects toys for low-income individuals, families and charities throughout California. CHP Spokesman Don Clotworthy, who has helped coordinate the drive for the past four years, said there are always families who can use a little help in making their holidays bright.

“Even though we live in an affluent area, there are people here who are struggling … who can’t afford toys for their kids,” Clotworthy said.

For the past 10 years, the CHP has collected and distributed toys during the holiday season through the CHiPs for Kids project. This year, the drive will be held from November 29 to December 20. Donated toys – which must be given to CHP in new condition and left unwrapped – can be dropped off at any CHP office or Sizzler Restaurant statewide, including those in Goleta and Ventura, Clotworthy said.

“Each year we find that there are more children in need than toys we have [to give] even though we collect so many,” Clotworthy said. “There are a lot of needy teens and children out there.”

Last year, the CHP partnered with Blockbuster Video to collect and donate over 4,000 toys to kids from preschool to early-teens. This year, Clotworthy said he hopes for an even higher turnout.

“UCSB students always want to do something to help … and a little plus a little can help a lot of kids,” Clotworthy said. “It really makes a difference to these kids when they see that members of the community are willing to help.”

In addition to CHiPs for Kids, other local organizations are hosting toys drives this winter. The accounting department at Santa Barbara City College has placed “Toys for Tots” collection boxes in the MacDougall Administration Building and the Luria Library through December 13.

In addition, “Stuff the Bus,” fueled by the Santa Barbara Metropolitan Transit District, is another of the various local toy drives being held this season. MTD is donating toys to children living in People’s Self-Help Housing developments – a group that provides affordable housing services and hosts programs that helps the Central Coast’s low-income families, seniors, and other special needs groups become self-sufficient. New, unwrapped toys for the program can be dropped off at the MTD Administration Building through December 19.