Southern California

“Kling Street Kids” Raise Money for Charity at Christmas

Each year, a group of children in Toluca Lake turn their sunny Southern California neighborhood into a Christmas winter wonderland for two days — all while raising money for charity.

The neighborhood trucks in 10 tons of snow and a bouncy house, and the Kling Street Kids set up shop to sell baked goods and hot chocolate.

The heartwarming tradition on Kling Street began in 2002 when sisters Cady and Callie Stark were just 6 and 9 years old.

"The first year we had hot chocolate, coffee and doughnuts sold outside our house, and we made $500 and gave all the money to the hospital. And we’re like, wow, this is amazing," Kling Street Kids co-founder Cady Stark said. "So we decided to do it again and raised $2,000 the next year and everything was donated."

And the celebration has grown every year. Overall the children have raised more than $130,000 for sick children at Children's Hospital Los Angeles.

"We wanted to do what the true meaning of Christmas is really about, which is actually trying to go out and help people," co-founder Callie Stark said.

The Kling Street Kids collect donations from area businesses and raffle off prizes. And now that the original founders are older, they’re teaching the younger children in the neighborhood to take the reigns.

"Now, for me, a lot of it is about instilling the love of helping other people in the younger kids, because we have a new generation of kids coming to help," Callie Stark said. "We have over 70 child volunteers now every single year. My favorite thing is seeing them love to come and help."

The Kling Street Kids are going to keep the celebration going through 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve, which is Wednesday. Anyone who wants to stop by can visit the 10400 block of Kling Street in Toluca Lake.

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