In November of 2003, a group of veterans in Sacramento, California, sought a way to acknowledge the dedication and service of our troops serving in uniform overseas. Many of these military personnel sacrifice everything while being separated from their families during the Holidays. The beneficiaries of the first annual toy drive were the families at Travis Air Force Base and the California National Guard. The goal was to provide two toys per child of every military parent deployed overseas. The first effort in 2003 was a booming success; all requests from both Travis AFB and the California National Guard were fulfilled.
Based on the overwhelming response and the volume of toys collected in 2003, Toys for the Troops’ Kids was born, expanded the scope for Christmas 2004, and added the families of Beale AFB to the list of beneficiaries. Again, the toy drive far exceeded expectations for all three military commands.
In 2005, the toy drive took another big step and added Lemoore Naval Air Station to the now- growing list of beneficiaries receiving toys for the kids of troops serving overseas. For Christmas 2005, the toy drive once again exceeded expectations. In succeeding years, the toy drive has expanded to cover California and Nevada. As many as 25,000 toys have been distributed in a single year and over 150,000 toys have been distributed since the beginning of this incredible effort.
Past toy drives were all made possible by the co-sponsorship of generous benefactors, as well as individual donations of new, unwrapped toys, cash and other in-kind services. The Peter P. Bollinger Investment Co. has graciously provided the use of its properties as major collection sites for the toy drive at the Citrus Town Center in Citrus Heights. The Sunrise Market Place has contributed invaluable administrative and media efforts. Finally, the City of Citrus Heights has provided equipment and traffic control for the many contributors who come to our major collection site to support our military families with gifts of toys.
Toys for the Troops Kids, Inc, is a non-profit California corporation created with tax-exempt status from the Internal Revenue Service and the California Franchise Tax Board so that all donations, whether monetary or in-kind, can be considered tax-deductible for the donor. Cash donations are used to purchase toys or are applied to administrative expenses such as insurance, transportation and distribution of toys. There is no paid staff and the effort is supported 100% by volunteers. Brave and very special Moms and Dads have promised us that, for so long as they wear the uniform, we will be safe. We at Toys for the Troops’ Kids think that our efforts are the least we can offer to thank them for their sacrifice.
With your help, we will continue our efforts to put a smile on the face of a kid whose parent is serving our country this year at Christmas time.