FAIRFIELD — Jim Dunbar came to the Fairfield-Suisun Chamber of Commerce holiday mixer on Thursday evening carrying a yellow, 1½-foot-long, toy Caterpillar road grader.
That was his price of admission. Participants could enter by bringing a toy or six cans of food for the needy or $20. Dunbar chose the toy donation and chose the road grader in particular.
“Something representative of our industry, I think,” Dunbar said.
Dunbar works at Potrero Hills Landfill, where they have the real version of these road graders. He also played with toys like this when he was growing up, so he knows a child will have fun with it.
It was a festive atmosphere at the Courtyard by Marriott banquet room, with four Christmas trees of various sizes decorated to the hilt. Besides making a donation, participants got to celebrate and make connection in the local business world.
Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive Officer Debi Tavey said the donation events at the annual holiday mixer are a success.
“The Chamber always brings in over a ton of food, literally over a ton of food,” she said.
The canned food goes to either Mission Solano or the Food Bank of Contra Costa and Solano. Donors can choose which. Both serve the local population.
Last year, the chamber added the toy donation option. Toys brought on Thursday will go to the Fun on the Run toy drive.
Fun on the Run is a Fairfield program that brings games, activities and arts and crafts to various Fairfield apartment complexes and parks. Two trucks each go to two destinations daily to serve youths ages 4 through 15. Todd Grames of the program said Fun on the Run is collecting 150 to 200 toys to give to local children.
“I thought it was important to support a local organization,” Tavey said. “The toys will go back locally.”
Chamber members, besides giving, also had plenty of time for socializing.
“It’s a benefit for our members just to get together and network,” Tavey said. “I’ve seen a lot of big transactions happen at mixers, or they got a new client.”
Chris Audette of The Salvation Army came and had fliers about the group’s Kroc Center in Suisun City. He wants people to know the link between the Salvation Army and the Kroc Center, which offers fitness, youth and afterschool programs.
“We provide a service to the community that’s different from a traditional social service program,” he said.
Reach Barry Eberling at 427-6929 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/beberlingdr.