Last year, Toys for Tots distributed over 170,000 toys to more than 52,000 children in the Phoenix area.
Kendahl Lock of Phoenix had an especially difficult 2020. She lost two family members and was unable to gather with loved ones to honor them due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
But one thing did bring her joy—the fundraising drive she started for Toys for Tots, which brought in $5,400 that year.
The drive went so well that she and her husband decided to organize one again in 2021, raising over $7,000.
And for their third year? The couple brought in $10,400, thanks in part to a $6,000 donation from Lock’s husband’s employer, Awareness Analytics Partners. The other 36 donations came from friends and family.
“We were hoping to get $10,000, but I really did not expect we were going to get that or anywhere near it,” Lock told The Copper Courier.
Getting a Jump Start
Lock has been starting the drive earlier and earlier each year. This year, she took advantage of some “Christmas in July” sales and started purchasing toys in the summer.
She started raising money in October and quickly filled up her home with 720 toys.
“[My husband] works remotely and so randomly he’d be on Zoom call and there would be a toy avalanche or one of them would start talking and then he would make another one talk,” she said. “It was ridiculous.”
Lock said the nonprofit asked to come pick up the toys in the second week of November because her drive is the largest personal donation they receive, and it would take time to sort through.
Lock said she makes sure to buy a wide range of toys for all ages and interests. She also mentioned buying a diverse set of dolls, including dolls of multiple ethnicities and a Barbie in a wheelchair, to make sure the gifts are inclusive.
“I make sure to get sports equipment and toys and crafts and board games and just something for everybody,” she said.
While Lock’s toy drive is over, there are still opportunities to donate. The Toys for Tots website has a search function for local campaigns and also accepts online donations.
Last year, the nonprofit distributed over 170,000 toys to over 52,000 children in the Phoenix area.
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