TIF Donates 5,000 Toys to Foster Children Served by CASA in Irvington, NJ

July 18, 2013 | The Township of Irvington New Jersey, the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the National CASA Association and CASA of Essex County hosted a “Christmas in July” festival on Thursday, July 18th where more than 900 children attending the township’s summer recreation program were the first beneficiaries of a toy giveaway bonanza sponsored by TIF.

“Christmas in July” served as the official kick-off to a series of TIF toy giveaways spanning several months that will bring nearly 5,000 new toys and games to Essex County foster children and other community kids in need by the end of the 2013 holiday season.

The event took place in Orange Park, which was transformed into a festival-like experience where children enjoyed more than a dozen stations featuring everything from go-carts and bounce houses to arts and crafts stations and sports tournaments. Brand new toys distributed at the festival were donated by local toy manufacturers through TIF’s signature Toy Bank program.   

“Every child needs and deserves play, which is why we are so proud to help make this event possible," said Jean Butler, executive director, Toy Industry Foundation. “Not only did the children experience a wonderful day of recreation, the toys we have provided will allow the fun to continue. When a child is given a toy to call their own, they know that someone is thinking about them. That is the message we are sending to each and every one of these children.”

"We are so grateful for the opportunity to share these toys with children in our community who may not always have access to simple things many of us take for granted,” said Karen Burns, executive director, CASA of Essex County. “CASA of Essex County was proud to create this special day with the Toy Industry Foundation and the support of Mayor Smith and the Township of Irvington who have helped bring the community together to celebrate this great gift. We would also like to thank Walmart for their longstanding support of our organization and their donation of trucks and logistical expertise to help make the delivery of these toys possible.”

As the local recipient of the national partnership between the TIF and the National CASA Association, CASA of Essex County (based in Newark) will use resources from the partnership to increase services to local foster children. CASA of Essex County currently provides highly trained committed volunteers for 29 % of the 2,100 vulnerable children in the Essex County foster care system. With the help of the TIF partnership, the CASA of Essex County will continue working toward its goal to reach every child by 2020.

“On behalf of our Irvington children, we appreciate the partnership of CASA of Essex County, National CASA and the Toy Industry Foundation, and the Township of Irvington. This event is a classic public/private partnership which will bring joy to the youth of community," said Mayor Wayne Smith.

Nationally, the TIF has supported the National CASA Association with a grant of $200,000, enabling the organization to increase its capacity to recruit and train volunteer advocates to provide one-on-one support and guidance to children in the foster care system as they await placement in permanent, loving homes. In addition, the TIF is generously contributing brand new toys to local CASA programs throughout the year, and has already provided over 50,000 toys from manufacturers, retailers and distributors across the country.