‘Tis the season to be kind! When days get packed with wishlists and shopping, consider switching things up and seeking simple ways to support the less fortunate during the holidays. Because, let’s face it. While we look forward to the hustle and bustle of this time of year, it’s easy to end up overwhelmed and consumed by it. Shifting perspective and creating space for kindness has a lasting effect on mental and emotional well-being, not to mention the potential to make this season a little bit brighter for others!
A popular way to give-back this time of year is by participating in a local toy drive. So many families can’t afford gift giving. Why not bring a smile to a child’s face this year, simply by donating a toy? It’s in the giving, after all, that we truly receive.
One of the many out there spreading holiday cheer this year is Ashlen Martin of Vienna, Washington. Ashlen is a 13 year old girl who has been hosting her own holiday toy drives, serving local foster children, for the past 6 years! While most of us may not have time to organize these events ourselves, we can all be inspired by Ashlen’s story as we seek our own special ways of giving back.
Countless toy drives are currently taking place nationwide! We’ve listed a few below, as a resource for all of our kind readers this holiday season! If you want to get involved, but none of the listed options are local to you, don’t worry! A quick search online should provide a handful of toy drive options with drop-off locations specific to your area!
The Marine led program, ‘Toys For Tots,’ has been serving less fortunate children and “delivering hope since 1947,” (Source). With the kindness and generosity of people nationwide, they have been able to distribute 566 million toys to 258 million children thus far, (Source)! ‘Toys For Tots’ campaigns run all over the country, making it easy to get involved. To make your own donation, visit the ‘Toys For Tots’ website and find a drop-off location near you!
ABC7 and SoCal Firefighters are hosting their annual ‘Spark of Love Toy Drive.’ This year, they are celebrating 25 years of providing “toys or sports equipment for underserved children during the holiday season in Southern California,” (Source). Donations can be dropped at SoCal fire stations and firefighters will distribute all collections throughout the local communities. Visit the ‘Spark of Love Toy Drive’ event page for more details!
“Help make the season bright” by supporting military families with Homefront’s Holiday Toy Drive, (Source). There are a number of ways to participate in this drive, the most common of which being donations of course! You can drop toys off at your local Dollar Tree store. If you’d like to set up your own collection bin or help distribute donations, head over to Operation Homefront’s website where they outline the steps necessary to get involved!
Pretend City Children’s Museum will be accepting toy donations for their drive benefiting the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC) until December 23rd, offering 25% off of admission to the museum with a donation valued at $5 or more. You can check out CHOC’s wishlist if you’re thinking of participating. A crew of Harleys, featuring Santa Claus himself, will be picking up donations and delivering them to CHOC on Friday, December 13th from 12:30p – 1:00p. The perfect opportunity for a day of family fun and kindness!
So there you have it! Your very own list of local toy drives, giving you a head start on your kindness goals this holiday season. And proof that this world is filled with beautiful people committed to making a difference. Thank you all, for all you do. Wishing everyone happiness and joy into the new year!