OKINAWA, Japan, Nov. 8, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kadena U.S. Air Force Base -- Nearly 1,000 boys and girls stationed with their parents on Kadena U.S. Air Force Base in Japan were treated to an extraordinary day of gifts and play on November 1st by the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and partner Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services. Joined by Marine families stationed in nearby in Okinawa, the children experienced a fun-filled toy giveaway event, providing relief and a reminder of home to kids living with their parents so far away from what is familiar.
Military life is difficult for families, especially those stationed internationally. Thanks to the special toy giveaway event, children of U.S. Airmen and Marines have many days of play ahead of them, providing a respite from stress and homesickness.
"We are relieved that so many troops are returning home safely," said Jean Butler, Executive Director, Toy Industry Foundation. "But we haven't forgotten that there are thousands of service members stationed overseas with their families. This is our way of saying thank you, showing appreciation for their sacrifices, and bringing smiles and laughter into the lives of children who need it now more than ever."
"Other organizations provide food, shelter, and clothing for military families, but the Toy Industry Foundation realized that play is an important factor and can be a distraction from the daily things military kids deal with," said Dion Bass, Kadena Teen Center Chief, 18th Force Support Squadron.
"The toys provided by the Toy Industry Foundation are a great opportunity to show military youth how much we appreciate the sacrifices made by our military personnel," said Terrill Wicks, BGCA Vice President of Military Services.
The TIF/BGCA Play Comforts program is the first-ever national toy distribution program to serve every branch of the military, and is now in its third year of operation. Since the partnership launched, TIF has provided over 200,000 toys to BGCA for children on U.S. military bases.
Through the Play Comforts program, toys donated to TIF's Toy Bank by generous toy makers and merchants are delivered to families on dozens of U.S. military installations at home and abroad all year long.
Gifts distributed at this event were generously donated by AbraKIDabra, American Plastic Toys, Buffalo Games, Cartamundi, Cree8 Group, Cryptozoic, Daydream Toy, Dunecraft, Every Baby Company, GANZ, Green Toys, GUND, Hasbro, LEGO, Mattel, Maxim, Peaceable Kingdom, Radio Flyer, Shrinky Dinks, Small World Toys, Smart Toys & Games, Squishable.com, and Wyla.
About Toy Industry Foundation (www.toyindustryfoundation.org)
While other organizations provide food, shelter and support services to children and their families, the Toy Industry Foundation 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 Toy Industry Foundation.
The first industry-wide program of its kind, The Toy Bank receives donations of newly manufactured toys from members of the toy industry and distributes them through local charities to underserved, at-risk and homeless children throughout the United States and around the world. The Toy Bank is administered by Kids in Distressed Situations.
About Boys & Girls Club of America (BGCA) (www.bgca.org)
For more than 100 years, Boys & Girls Clubs of America 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