Toys for Tots serves families in need by giving new toys to children during the holidays. These kids might not get a lot of (or any) presents otherwise, so this charity is a big deal when it comes to Christmas magic. A family can sign themselves up or a friend can sign up a family to be considered for the program.
This well-respected organization hopes that this act will help empower kids to see beyond their circumstances, and we think that's a pretty cool way to look at the larger impact of a toy at Christmas. In essence, through the delivery of new Christmas toys where there might not be any otherwise, Toys for Tots seeks to contribute to breaking the cycle of poverty.
How to Sign a Family Up for Toys for Tots
If you know someone who might need a toy this Christmas, signing them up for the Toys for Tots program is a pretty basic process. There is no specific criterion to sign a family up for Toys for Tots, but there is no guarantee that every family signed up will receive gifts through the program.
Which families are selected to get toys depends on each local campaign center, how many toys that campaign center has, and the various families who have been presented as possible candidates to receive free toys.
You can sign a family up to be considered by following these simple steps:
- Go to the Toys for Tots website.
- Click on the Request a Toy link at the top of the page.
- From here you will be directed to a drop-down menu. Select the state and county that the potential recipient lives in.
- Once you have selected a state and county, you will be presented with the name of the person in charge of the local campaign center along with a link. Click on this link and provide the requested information.
Toys for Tots Sign-Up Information You Need
You'll need a few facts about the family to sign them up:
- Your name and the family's name
- The names and ages of all children in the recipient's household
- Proof of residency of the family in need
- A brief explanation of why that family needs to receive a Toys for Tots Christmas present
- Other possible identifying information
If you're considering signing up a family for Toys for Tots, be sure you have the family's permission first. You'll be providing some of their personal information, so it's important that they consent to share it.
How to Apply if You're the Family in Need
You don't need someone else to sign you up for free Christmas toys if you need some help this holiday season. You can fill out the information for yourself too. It helps to include an explanation about your situation if you feel comfortable doing that.
Identifying a Family That Could Benefit From Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots works with a variety of organizations that help identify needy children. These local organizations include local churches and other faith-based organizations, social services, or any other group or individual that is in the position to identify a family who could use a little extra Christmas hope.
These are a few ways families get identified:
- Parents can request toys for their own children.
- Social workers sometimes request toys on behalf of their case families.
- Food stamp workers or Food Shares workers request food for families, and this helps identify them as people who could benefit from Toys for Tots.
- Religious clergy can request toys for families that they are aware have a need.
- Other adults such as friends, teachers, or neighbors can request toys for a family that they are aware of needing help.
In general, any family is eligible to sign up if they have children under 18 years old living at home and are unable to buy Christmas presents for their own children due to financial hardship.
Other Ways to Get Involved
Aside from simply suggesting a family, there are some other awesome ways to get involved with Toys for Tots. If you have extra time, toys, or some cash to spare, you can get involved in one of these ways.
Donate Toys to Toys for Tots
There are a couple of main ways you can donate toys to Toys for Tots. Often, around Christmastime, you will see tables set up in the mall where you can simply drop off a purchase. You can also find a local toy drop-off point by searching your zip code or county from the "Find Your Local Campaign" tab on the Toys for Tots main website.
Donate Money or Time to Toys for Tots
You can give money online via PayPal, but you can also donate stocks, give from your IRA, or donate time to set up a fundraiser to help. Toys for Tots even has a program to have companies give in honor of clients or employees instead of giving them swag or food for the holidays.
If you donate money, check to see if your company has a matching gift program. A lot of companies do, and this can make your gift go even further.
You can reach the organization directly through the following methods:
Phone: (703) 640.9433
Address: Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
The Cooper Center
18251 Quantico Gateway Dr
Triangle, VA 22172-1776
Make the Holidays Joyful
If you want to help contribute to this wonderful organization but don't have the money to donate, you can still make a world of difference. Try spreading the word to families in need in your community so that local kids can have the Christmas they deserve. You can also spread the word by posting photos of time spent volunteering with Toys for Tots. By helping get the word out, you can help even more children have a merry Christmas.