Toy Industry Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America Brighten Holidays for Military Families at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

Toy distribution brings families together for a celebration of the holidays and the joy of play

Dec 09, 2010, 14:03 ET from The Toy Industry Foundation

NEW YORK, Dec. 9, 2010 /PRNewswire/ -- The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) and Boys & Girls Clubs of America (BGCA) Military Services hosted an unprecedented holiday toy distribution for the children of military families at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, Cuba on Saturday, December 4.  The event, the highlight of the annual Holiday Parade gathering, was the largest of its kind on base as more than 500 family members came together in celebration; every branch of the military was represented and each child, from toddler to teen, was able to take a home a toy of their choice.

(Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20101209/NY15220 )

"We are grateful to the Toy Industry Foundation and the BGCA for supporting our military and civilian families," said Karen Simon, GTMO Child and Youth Programs Administrator.  "It can be especially difficult to be separated from extended family and friends during the holidays so support like this helps maintain morale."

Holiday cheers erupted from kids of all ages when TIF Executive Director Jean Butler presented Base Commanding Officer Captain Kirk Hibbert and members of the base community with hundreds of toys, games and plush products that had been donated to the TIF's Toy Bank by toy companies such as Cloud B, Daydream Toys, Hasbro, Little Kids, Inc., MindWare and exhibitors at the Toy Industry Association's Fall Toy Preview.  

"This was an extraordinary opportunity for the toy industry to bring comfort to children of military families stationed at Guantanamo Bay.  These families are far from the comforts of home and we were thrilled to provide a bit of extra support and joy during the holiday season," said Butler.

The toy distribution at Guantanamo Bay Naval Base wraps up the first year of a new TIF-BGCA Play Comforts partnership to provide toys to members of Boys & Girls Clubs located on U.S. military bases.  The initiative includes grant funding from the Foundation and is the first-ever national toy distribution program to canvas every branch of the military. More than 25,000 children have been served since Play Comforts was launched during the 2009 holiday season with a toy distribution event at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C.; GTMO was the first international event under the partnership.  

"We appreciate the Toy Industry Foundation's contributions and commitment to our military families," stated Terrill D. Wicks, BGCA's Vice President of Military Services and International Projects.  "During this holiday season, it was especially rewarding to provide this token of our appreciation for our military families deployed to GTMO."

To learn more about the Toy Industry Foundation and the TIF-BGCA Play Comforts partnership, visit www.ToyIndustryFoundation.org.

About the Toy Industry Foundation

The Toy Industry Foundation 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™, public education initiatives, and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the Toy Industry Foundation. For more information, visit www.toyindustryfoundation.org.

About Boys & Girls Club of America

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 4,300 Clubs serve some 4.5 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 The Toy Industry Foundation



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