FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thousands of Brand-New Toys Put Smiles on the Faces of Children in Foster Care
Local Toy Companies, Toy Industry Foundation, and National CASA Team Up for “Play Your Part” Event
Chicago, IL | July 20, 2017 – More than 300 Chicago-area children living in foster care received brand-new toys and enjoyed a fun afternoon of play today at a special “Play Your Part – Chicago” event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation and the National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA). Held at Guaranteed Rate Field, the memorable day was made possible thanks to generous toy industry volunteers, donors, and sponsors from more than two dozen local toy companies.
Children awaiting placement in loving, permanent homes picked out their own toys and games from a wide selection of arts & crafts, board games, books, dolls, and more. The afternoon also included kid-friendly activities and games led by volunteers at company-sponsored activity stations. In addition to providing toys to the children at the event, the Foundation is donating more than 11,000 toys valued at over $150,000 to thousands of additional foster care children in the Chicago area to help celebrate birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions.
“It’s heartwarming to see how a simple toy, game, or stuffed animal can provide so much comfort to a child in foster care,” says Jean Butler, executive director at the Toy Industry Foundation. “That’s why our partnership with National CASA is so important. Thanks to the generosity of the entire toy industry, we have been able to provide more than $3.7 million in toys to over 370,000 foster children since 2013. This year’s Play Your Part event in Chicago was yet another success, bringing the gift of play to thousands of deserving children.”
In addition to providing hundreds of thousands of toys to children in foster care, the Toy Industry Foundation has provided $1 million in grant funding to National CASA, enabling them to support recruitment and training of CASA volunteers to stand up for the needs and rights of abused and neglected children in the court system.
“Play Your Part is a special event not just for the children who received toys but also for the staff and volunteer advocates in our nationwide network,” says Michelle Olson, chief advancement officer at National CASA. “It is encouraging to us that so many members of the toy industry came out and gave their time and energy to help make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.”
The Toy Industry Foundation works year-round with partners and international charities to bring new toys and games to children who are impoverished, at-risk, in hospitals, in military families, and otherwise in need. To date, the Foundation has provided $200 million in toys to 23 million children in need.
The playthings distributed at Play Your Part – Chicago and being provided to thousands of local children in foster care were kindly donated by manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to the Foundation’s Toy Bank. Event sponsors were American Plastic Toys, the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (ASTRA), Educational Insights, Fibre-Craft, Intertek, Learning Resources, MegaFun, PlayMonster, TOMY, Toy’N Around, T.S. Shure, and VTech.
About Toy Industry Foundation www.toyindustryfoundation.org
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is a 501c3 children’s charity whose mission is to provide joy and comfort to children in need through the experience of toys and play. TIF serves children who are undergoing complicated medical procedures, enduring temporary home placements in the foster care system, suffering from abuse or neglect, experiencing separation from a deployed military parent, or have had their lives disrupted by a devastating natural disaster. To date, TIF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, has provided $200 million in toys to 23 million children in need around the globe, thanks to its generous toy donors.
About National CASA Association for Children www.casaforchildren.org
The National Court Appointed Special Advocate Association (National CASA), together with its state and local member programs, supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so every abused or neglected child in the United States can be safe, have a permanent home and the opportunity to thrive. Today, 77,000 court appointed special advocate and guardian ad litem volunteers serve more than 251,000 children, but more than 400,000 children are without a volunteer advocate. National CASA is working in partnership with its state and local programs in 49 states and D.C. to close that gap.