CHRISTMAS COMES EARLY FOR LA-AREA
KIDS IN NEED
Local Toy Companies Join Together for Fun-Filled Event & Toy Giveaway
Los Angeles, CA | June 26, 2019 – Christmas came early for more than 400 Los Angeles-area children who are facing abuse, homelessness, and other adversities, when they received brand-new toys and games today at a special event hosted by The Toy Foundation (TTF), the philanthropic arm of the North American toy industry, and the Dream Center, an LA-based non-profit that provides outreach to low-income communities.
“We were thrilled to create a magical day of play for children who, along with their families, suffer from extreme hardships,” said Jean Butler, executive director of The Toy Foundation. “To see the excitement these kids felt when they received their very own new toy and the smiles on their faces as they enjoyed a fun day of games and activities showcased what the toy industry is all about – providing ALL children with the opportunity to experience the wonder of play.”
Nearly 40 toy and entertainment companies – including Disney, Funrise, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, and more – participated in The Toy Foundation’s ”Play Your Part” event either by donating toys, sponsoring an activity station, or sending company volunteers.
Kids engaged in interactive activities with volunteers, such as “How to Draw a Minion,” a Toy Story-themed carnival with games and crafts, a cornhole toss, a Mega Bloks building station with “make and take” activities for the kids, and a giant Jenga set, among other activities. The event included DJ entertainment, as well as refreshments and lunch.
Volunteers also filled gift bags with brand-new playthings, which will be distributed by the Dream Center to tens of thousands of deserving children throughout the year for birthdays, holidays, ceremonies, and other special occasions. In all, more than 20,000 toys were donated by generous manufacturers, retailers, and distributors to TTF’s Toy Bank.
“Play Your Part is like Christmas in June for the kids that we serve at the Dream Center,” said Merrilee Kaszacs, director of Dream Center Networks. “Many of these kids have few to no toys to call their own, so seeing their faces light up when they received new toys and games was the highlight of the day. The event was a terrific way for these kids to kick off summer, which we could not have done without our partnership with The Toy Foundation and local toy companies.”
Stephanie Simpson Bughi, director of global brand marketing at Funrise, added: “We have been participating in Play Your Part for more than a decade and each year is even more rewarding for our volunteers. This event really serves as a reminder of how we can make such a meaningful impact on the lives of children. It’s a great way to give back to the community and make sure we can help put smiles on the faces of as many kids as possible. Funrise is happy to partner with the Toy Foundation for such a great event!”
Event sponsors included ASA Products/Mobo Cruiser, Bandai, Beverly Hills Teddy Bear Company, Disney, Educational Insights, Funrise, JAKKS Pacific, Mattel, NBCUniversal, Nickelodeon, Shoot the Moon, Thinker-Tinker, Women in Toys, Wood Expressions, and WowWee.
In addition to Los Angeles, Play Your Part events have been held in Chicago, Florida, and Boston. The events are operated by TTF in partnership with children’s charitable organizations that are the touchpoint to underserved kids in their local areas and exemplify the true generosity of the toy community.
About The Toy Foundation www.toyfoundation.org
The Toy Foundation (TTF) is a 501(c)3 children’s charity whose mission is to provide joy and comfort to children in need through the experience of toys and play. TTF serves children who are coping with serious illness, enduring temporary home placements in the foster care system, suffering from abuse or neglect, experiencing separation from a deployed military parent, or dealing with devastating natural disasters. To date, TTF’s signature program, The Toy Bank, has provided more than $200 million in toys to over 25 million children in need around the globe, thanks to its generous toy donors.
About The Dream Center
The Los Angeles Dream Center is a faith-based non-profit organization located in Echo Park, dedicated to transforming lives and the underserved communities in the city of Los Angeles. By offering residential and outreach programs to individuals, families and communities in the areas of homelessness, hunger, poverty, addiction, domestic violence, education, and human trafficking, the Dream Center is committed to enabling immediate and long-term transformation. The Dream Center welcomes those in need into our community completely free-of-charge with the resources, training, and support they need, regardless of faith, age, gender, orientation, nationality, or any other defining factor.