|TOYS“R”US® RAISES $3.9 MILLION TO BENEFIT THE MARINE TOYS FOR TOTS FOUNDATION|
Shaquille O’Neal (a.k.a. Shaq-A-Claus) and Customers United to Deliver More Than 325,000 Toys to Kids in Need During the Holiday Season, Demonstrating There Really is #NoWishTooBig
Wayne, NJ (January 9, 2014) – Toys“R”Us® today announced that its 10th annual nationwide fundraising campaign to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation raised $3.9 million and more than 325,000 toys, helping make millions of Christmas wishes come true for kids in need across the U.S during the holiday season. During the 2013 campaign, customers spread holiday cheer by donating new, unwrapped toys at Toys“R”Us® and Babies“R”Us® stores nationwide and by making monetary contributions in stores and online at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots. As part of this year’s program, the company once again partnered with NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal to introduce a new #NoWishTooBig social media initiative that inspired hundreds of additional kids and families to get involved and demonstrate the true meaning of holiday giving.
“We are so thankful for the generosity of our customers, as well as the steadfast support of our employees, during our Toys for Tots campaign this year,” said Kathleen Waugh, Chairman, Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. “It is gratifying to know that together, we have been able to bring joy to some of the more than 16 million children who continue to live in poverty in the U.S.”
For the fifth consecutive year, Shaquille O’Neal – a.k.a Shaq-A-Claus – donned his alter ego to encourage customer donations and support for Toys for Tots. For more than two decades, Shaquille has made it his personal mission to give back to kids less fortunate during the holiday season, when the gift of a toy means the most to a child. Additionally this year, Shaquille championed the company’s #NoWishTooBig program, encouraging even more kids and parents to pay it forward through a fun, free drawing activity, which helped collect more toys for kids in need.
“I know firsthand that the gift of a toy on Christmas can change the life of a child. And, it is always my great pleasure to partner with Toys“R”Us and Toys for Tots to make the holiday season a bit brighter for millions of children in need,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Shaq-A-Claus could never have granted so many wishes without the help of big-hearted Toys“R”Us customers and kids from across the country. Thank you to all who helped me show there’s #NoWishTooBig!”
Shaq-A-Claus and Toys“R”Us Kids Came Together to Prove There Really was #NoWishTooBig This Holiday Season
New to this year’s campaign, Shaq-A-Claus asked kids to share their suggestions of toys to add to The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List, a list of toy recommendations to donate to a child who might otherwise go without a gift to open on Christmas morning. Seven hundred kids across the U.S. – including an entire Atlanta-area elementary school – joined the #NoWishTooBig movement by drawing pictures of their favorite toys and sharing them on Facebook (Facebook.com/Toysrus), Twitter and Instagram (@ToysRus) using the hashtag #NoWishTooBig. For each of these 700 drawings shared using the dedicated hashtag, Toys“R”Us donated a toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, further helping children in need.
In addition, hundreds of online shoppers also purchased playthings off the The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List, which were shipped directly to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation to be distributed across the country.
Hundreds of Generous Customers Helped “Wish It Forward” with Layaway
Inspired by the many stories of generous citizens who anonymously paid off another’s layaway, for a second year, Toys“R”Us pledged to “Wish It Forward.” For every layaway balance paid off at a Toys“R”Us store as an act of kindness, the company donated $200 worth of toys – the approximate average value of a layaway order created at Toys“R”Us – to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.
The “Wish It Forward” program was met with great enthusiasm in Toys“R”Us stores nationwide, with 597 layaway orders anonymously paid for by good Samaritans. And, as a result of this program, the company provided Toys for Tots with $119,400 worth of toys to help provide children in need across the country with gifts to open on Christmas morning.
As the largest retail partner in the history of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Toys“R”Us has raised over $35.5 million and collected more than 4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004. To start up this year’s campaign, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund, a public charity affiliated with Toys“R”Us, Inc., provided a $250,000 grant to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The Shaq-A-Claus #NoWishTooBig program was also supported by the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund.
Charitable Giving at Toys“R”Us
The philanthropic mission of Toys“R”Us, Inc. and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations and has donated $1 million as the first Founding Partner of the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys“R”Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.