Marine Toys for Tots is committed to providing support to children and families in need no matter the time of year. One way our Program expands its reach beyond the holiday season is through our partnerships with local nonprofits across the Nation during the spring and summer months. Additionally, Toys for Tots has established a new initiative that supports children in Foster Care throughout the year. At a recent event in Tulsa, Oklahoma, with the help of local nonprofit, 180 Disaster Relief, we were able to provide a summer of smiles and hope to foster children!
180 Disaster Relief, a Good360 Community Redistribution Partner, strives to aid those affected by disasters with emergency relief provisions such as food, shelter, medical supplies, and building materials. The nonprofit also works to improve the lives of underserved individuals and families that reside in the local area to provide essential goods.
With schools gearing up for the new academic year, children anxiously wait to see their friends and begin learning new material. But, for some students, the return to school is not as exciting. 180 Disaster Relief, with the assistance of Oklahoma First Lady, Sarah Stitt, hosted a Back2School Bash at the Governor’s Mansion in Oklahoma City to provide hope, joy, and comfort to 600 children living in Foster Care as they prepare to head back to school.
The Back2School Bash featured a variety of activities for the foster children to enjoy, including bounce houses, face painting, food, and games. Each child received toys – provided by Toys for Tots – a free backpack, school supplies, new shoes, and a back-to-school haircut. Foster parents even received cleaning supplies and hygiene items for the new school year.
Fun was had by all, and one little girl was overwhelmed with joy to pick out her own backpack for the very first time! Her foster parents saw her eyes illuminated with happiness when she chose a brand-new princess backpack, and even had tear-filled eyes as she was handed a new board game to take home.
“These parents are doing an extraordinary thing by opening their homes and hearts to foster children,” said Angela Henshaw, Director of Operations at 180 Disaster Relief. “We’re proud to help them start their children’s school year off on the right foot.”
A few days later, 180 Disaster Relief held a Spring Carnival alongside Victory North and the Tulsa Dream Center to provide hundreds of children with toys and games that were provided by Toys for Tots. The event delivered fun, joy, and comfort to 800 children and families, and everyone enjoyed games and rides, face painting, food, and frozen treats!
Parents were so grateful for the event and donations. “I work seven days a week just to put food on the table,” one single mother said. “I don’t have extra money to take all my children out for entertainment, so this means the world to me. I can’t thank you enough.”
Another event was hosted by Church 3434 to distribute essentials and toys to economically disadvantaged children in the Tulsa neighborhood. Over 500 children received new toys – provided by Toys for Tots – along with household items, clothing, shoes, and school supplies. One grandmother was particularly grateful for the items. She said, “I’m on a fixed income and would never be able to afford all these things for my little ones,” she said. “Bless you all for this event.”
Marine Toys for Tots is dedicated to enriching the lives of children in need across the country. Every child, no matter their situation, deserves to have direct access to school essentials and have their hearts filled with joy with new toys and games. Toys for Tots wants to turn the page on poverty, one toy or book at a time.