SAN MIGUEL — Since the 1990s the San Miguel Firefighters Association (SMFA) has hosted a toy drive to spread some Christmas cheer to the children of San Miguel.

Michelle Hido of the San Miguel Firefighters Association said, “We’ve been doing this for maybe a decade or more now, the firefighters association gives out toys to the kids, and we usually have a Santa.”

This year, things will look a little different.

To keep the tradition going, SMFA is looking for smaller toys to fill stockings to passed out after the Annual San Miguel Christmas Parade Saturday, Dec. 19.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles

“We want to keep things as close to normal for the kids as we can, but adhering to safety measures,” said Hido.

The Grinch will be taking Santa’s place and will be passing out stockings full of smaller gifts. All to help spread joy while keeping everyone safe.

“One of our chiefs had the idea ‘Oh if we can’t have Santa and we can’t have a picture with Santa, why don’t we use the Grinch instead,’” laughed Hido.

San Miguel’s Annual Christmas Parade will start at 5 p.m. on Mission Street, traveling from 14th to 9th streets.

Gather your family and huddle in blankets on the curb of Mission Street or even watch warmly from your car and watch the parade.

Afterward, families are welcome to come to the fire station to get their stockings safely.

In years past, families gather at the fire station after the parade for photos with Santa. After a word with the big man in red, the kids head over to the toy room where firefighters pass out gifts.

“It’s a pretty cool experience, cocoa, popcorn, and all that. And obviously, we can’t do any of that with COVID. So we were trying to find a different way to do it, instead of canceling it.”

Until Dec. 4, donations for smaller toys are being accepted at the San Miguel Garbage Company and the San Miguel Fire Station.

Firefighters are looking for smaller toy donations like small stuffed animals, toy cars, crayons, markers, lip gloss, balls, bubbles, yo-yo’s, etc.

Last year, over 200 gifts were given to San Miguel children. It is an SMFA goal that no San Miguel child is left out.

“We’ve had to adapt a lot of things,” said Hido.

The Grinch

So although there will be no cocoa and things will look different, we can still help keep the magic alive for the children.

If the Grinch can do it, I think we can too!

Let’s help SMFA fill those stockings! All donations are much appreciated.

Donations can be dropped off at:

• San Miguel Firefighters Association
1150 Mission St., San Miguel

• San Miguel Garbage Company
6625 Benton Rd., Paso Robles.

Donation pick-up is Dec. 4.