Friday, November 21, 2014

Toys galore

When I think of gifts for children, the first thing that comes to mind is a teddy bear. Toys of all kinds warm the hearts of kids, especially the ones who have little or nothing. The biggest gift-giving occasion of the entire year of course is Christmas and that is now just three weeks away. Toy drives for needy kids truly make a difference! Consider giving. It really doesn't have to cost a lot.
There are stores that each year put out collection barrels for various toy drives.  The largest and best known is probably the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots campaign.  Back in 1947 United States Marine Major Bill Hendricks got the ball rolling in Los Angeles, California, beginning with a handmade doll and continuing with a collection of some 5,000 toys for needy kids in his area.  That program continues to this day but now spreads nationwide.  There is also the Angel Tree program which gives toys to kids with parents in prison.  It was in 1983 that the Prison Fellowship started their Angel Tree Christmas toy program. There are many regional and local programs too run by fire departments or police departments or other local organizations.
One of the national collection points is local Walgreens stores.  Drop of your toys in their barrel (in many locations, they actually have a toy department where you can purchase toys).  Walgreens will also donate money when you write about it!  Click HERE to get all the details.
The website for Toys For Tots is and their you can find out where toys can be dropped off and also how to request a toy for a needy child.  You can also make a secure monetary donation through that website.

In San Francisco, new toys will be accepted at the SF Pride Office at 30 Pearl Street, 4th Floor, San Francisco, through December 19. To end the drive, they will have a booth on Friday, December 19 at the corner of 17th & Castro St. (Jane Warner Plaza near Twin Peaks bar) from Noon to 4pm.  Besides toys, they will also be collecting can and dried goods donations.
Check with your local schools, churches, police department, and local newspaper for additional toys drives that might exist in your area.  Perhaps you or an organization you are part of, would like to start your own collection process to help out too.  Remember, a toy in the hands of a child is a beautiful thing, especially in the hands of a child who has nothing.

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