NEW YORK and ATLANTA, Aug. 8, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Military families stationed at installations in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia were brought comfort, joy and lots of fun as the Toy Industry Foundation in partnership with Boys and Girls Clubs of America delivered 7,000 new toys and games to more than 5,000 children of military families on Friday afternoon, August 5th.
The culmination of an afternoon-long "Armed Forces Funfest: A Salute to Military Youth," the toy distribution was the latest and largest during year two of the TIF-BGCA Play Comforts partnership – the first-ever national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military. Throughout 2011, thirty (30) U.S. military installations with some of the highest deployment rates will receive playthings from Toy Industry Foundation in the U.S. and in Germany.
Representatives of JEB Little Creek-Fort Story Commanding Officer Captain Charles L. Stuppard were on hand Friday afternoon to accept the toys on behalf of the Hampton Roads military community. Military families flocked to the toy tents throughout the afternoon to preview the tables heaped with new toys and games and anxiously await the early evening distribution.
"This is better than Christmas!" said sisters Andrea (5) and Ashlee (6) as they gazed at a mountain of Zhu Zhu pets. Brothers Aiden (5-1/2), Jacob (6-1/2) and Collin (13) agreed that the event had been a "very fun day" that helped them forget for a few moments how much they missed their military mom who has already been away from home for 177 days.
Toys are distributed through the Foundation's Toy Bank, which collects $5 million worth of contributions from toy manufacturers, retailers and distributors each year. The Toy Bank is the Foundation's signature program and also provides toys to children living in poverty, suffering from chronic illnesses, rescued from crisis situations and affected by natural disasters.
"The Toy Industry Foundation is deeply committed to our courageous men and women in uniform and their families who serve bravely on the homefront," said TIF Executive Director Jean Butler. "This 'day of play' is our way of saying thank you for their service and sacrifice."
"BGCA and TIF are honored to share this opportunity to support our military families," added Terrill D. Wicks, BGCA VP of Military Services & International Projects. "We recognize and appreciate the commitment these families make to our nation. Our partnership with the Toy Industry Foundation is a great opportunity to focus some well-deserved attention on the children of our military personnel."
Gifts distributed at the event were generously donated to TIF's Toy Bank by aNb Media, Anchor Bay Entertainment, Cardinal Industries, Inc., Every Baby Company, Fremont Die Consumer Products, Glide Bikes, Hasbro, Inc., Imperial Toy, KETTLER International, Learning Curve Brands, Inc., Patch Products, Inc., Prestige Toy Corp., SwimWays, Wal-mart and exhibitors at the American International Toy Fair®.
About the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF)
The Toy Industry Foundation (www.toyindustryfoundation.org) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to bring joy, comfort, and learning to children in need through toys and play. While other organizations provide food, shelter and support services to children and their families, TIF sees to it that these children have toys and opportunities to play in an attempt to restore both fun and a sense of normalcy to their lives. The Foundation currently fulfills its mission through core programs including The Toy Bank™ and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the TIF.
About Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA)
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America (www.bgca.org) has helped kids "Be Great," providing hope and opportunity for those who need it most. Today, more than 3,900 Clubs serve some 4.1 million young people through Club membership and community outreach. Known as The Positive Place for Kids, Boys & Girls Clubs can be found throughout the country and on U.S. military bases worldwide, providing young people 6-18 years old with guidance-oriented character development programs conducted by trained, professional staff. Clubs positively impact lives and help young people reach their full potential as productive, caring citizens. In a recent Harris Survey of Club alumni, 57 percent said the Club saved their lives. National headquarters are located in Atlanta.
SOURCE Toy Industry Foundation