Saturday, December 3, 2011

An Easy Way to Give Back (Toys for Tots)

It's safe to say I LOVE December. Christmas is a favorite holiday, and the fact that it is accompanied by a much needed break from school makes me happy, but what I love most about December is the spirit of giving it inspires.

Brendan and I saw that Midland College was hosting a Toys for Tots drive, so we knew we wanted to be involved. What is Toys for Tots, you ask? Toys for Tots is a national program sponsored by the U.S. Marines. The goal is to deliver new Christmas presents (toys and books) to children who are less fortunate and do not receive gifts otherwise. Last year, Toys for Tots delivered 16.7 million toys to 7.2 million children. That's a lot of Christmas cheer!

Brendan and I are both fortunate to have many magical memories from our childhood Christmases. Particular memories? Brendan remembers one Christmas where he opened every gift and then he and his sister discovered that Santa left a wooden clubhouse on the front lawn! My favorite memory from Christmas? I was about 8 years old and Santa brought me a littlest pet-shop zoo. When I opened all my presents, I discovered that I received every animal that went in the zoo, and I basically felt like the luckiest child on this earth. My point? Even into adulthood, children remember how special a Christmas present made them feel, so the idea of helping to create that for a child that wouldn't have it otherwise is really wonderful.

To donate to this great cause, Brendan and I each picked out a $10.00 gift. Brendan picked a play-doh set that has a press that allows one to make all sorts of "treats" with the play-doh (like popcorn, hotdogs, french fries, etc.), and I picked a play food set with Velcro, so the child can "cut" the fruit and veggies (playing kitchen was the best when I was a kid!) We are dropping off the toys (unwrapped) at our toy drive on December 8th.

Our contributions to Toys for Tots!
So, how can you help? Well, buy a new toy and drop it off unwrapped at a location near you. You can also donate money in various ways. And another thing to love about Toys for Tots is that 98% of donations goes directly to getting toys to children in need. The other 2% is spent on publicizing the program and fundraising for it. So NO money goes to salaries or to pay for manpower (all of the manpower, from wrappers to deliverers, is made up of volunteers). So I guess it should come as no surprise that out of nearly two million nonprofit organizations in the United States, the Foundation was ranked  #72 in the 2010 Philanthropy 400 published by the Chronicle of Philanthropy!

We really hope you'll join us in giving back to your own community through the Toys for Tots program. There are so many worthy causes, but this is one we feel really captures the spirit of the holiday, it's easy to participate in, and it's truly fun to go shopping for a child!

Here's to helping create some Christmas morning magic!
<3 S, B, L&Z

P.S.-Brendan and I spent last night decorating and...

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas...
If you think that's a Charlie Brown tree, check out this one:
Deck the Halls!

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