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The basic concept here is to get organized. Stand up, take a lead, and get people actively involved. Challenge yourself and others to get out and donate, whether it be monetarily through a gift, with some time helping getting a movement going, or even just talking with others about what you can do in your community to make a difference.

I’ve been donating to Toys for Tots since I got my first job at the age of 13.

We were poor growing up, my mom made due with the social security she got from my father’s passing. Most of our Christmas presents were made possible by lay-a-way at K-mart. Anyway we went in to foster care when I was 10, we pretty much only got presents from TFT and the “Angel Tree” after that. I know how much it means to get a Christmas present no matter what it is, and I’ve done my best to give some pretty rad toys to TFT for the last 19 years.

Since the advent of Social Media I’ve been trying to get my friends and acquaintances to join me. It’s pretty simple, I donate for 6 weeks, alternating Boys and Girls toys each week, starting with a 5 dollar limit the first week, and going up 5 bucks a week. I had lackluster success. Last year I had the idea to turn it into an event, get everyone to a store to purchase some toys, at the same time, and use collective buying power to make a serious dent in the need of the Quad Cities Toys for Tots program. I noticed over the years that Target doesn’t have Toys for Tots drop boxes, so I called to ask them why. Turns out they have corporate policies against asking employees to donate to charities, but they were more than willing to host the buy, and donated a gift card to purchase even more toys. I learned a lot, The staff at Toys for Tots has a very busy Holiday season, between actually seeing their families and being out constantly for donation’s, appearances and rounding up toys. Madness. Also when they receive cash donation’s they’re not allowed to spend more than 30 dollars on an individual toy.

You can obviously impact more children’s lives that way. Through some savvy shopping we hit a lot of buy 1 get 1 50% off toy deals and were able to buy some more expensive toys while keeping the average under 30 dollars each during our buy, and still pick up some pretty sweet toys. The goal isn’t getting everyone out and spending 5 dollars, I know some people legitimately don’t have it. If you don’t, simple, tell your friends about it, maybe they do.

I’ve been tracking down other charity projects we can do around the Quad Cities, and encouraging others to do something where they live as well. Children are quite literally the future, there are a lot of good smart kids in bad situations, and it is our job to help.

 

So, how can you help? Create your own mob!

Get a bunch of like minded individuals together, pick a charity, and raise funds, raise a ruckus, raise the roof… Do what you can to get the word out, and get people involved. Whether its just you and a couple of friends, or your whole neighborhood.

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