man loading boxes full of toys into moving truck
(Photo courtesy of Kendahl Lock)

“I was basically crying on a daily basis just from the generosity.” 

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 that ended up bringing in $5,400. 

Lock said the drive went so well last year, she and her husband decided to organize one again. This time, they raised $7,200. 

“I didn’t think we would nearly get what we did last year … but I figured every dollar counts, every toy counts,” Lock told The Copper Courier. “Any child that gets a toy, it’s worth it.” 

Down to a Science

Lock said she began reaching out to previous donors and posting to her Instagram about the drive in early October. 

She spent six weeks collecting donations, then purchased the gifts and delivered them before Thanksgiving. 

As the money came in, she looked for sales and would purchase discounted items to get more bang for her buck. 

(Photo courtesy of Kendahl Lock)

She also kept a spreadsheet of all the toys she purchased to make sure she covered a variety of interests—for example, sports equipment, art supplies, toys, puzzles, and games—for infants through teens. 

Lock and her husband ended up buying 449 items. Instead of transporting them all to a Toys for Tots location, the nonprofit came to them with a moving truck to collect the gifts. Lock said they had enough toys to fill the whole truck. 

Not Quite Normal

This year has still been difficult for Lock. Plans to reconnect with family in the summer for her brother-in-law’s wedding were canceled after this year’s monsoon season agitated a medical condition Lock has that is affected by weather. She said she’s hoping to be able to make the trip in the spring. 

But even though she hasn’t been able to see family, her family was very much involved in the toy drive—Lock said that while $3,000 came from her husband’s employer, Awareness Analytics Partners, the rest came from their friends and family. 

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“I honestly was overwhelmed,” Lock said. “I was basically crying on a daily basis just from the generosity.” 

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 nearly 40,000 toys in the Phoenix area.

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