$14,000 toy run at Toys R Us promises holiday cheer for needy children

ST. GEORGE — A warehouse in St. George received a windfall from the North Las Vegas Toys R Us store in Nevada Thursday when the big box retailer provided a $4,000 grant to help purchase $14,000 in gifts for needy children throughout Washington County.

A group of U.S. Marines traveled to Toys R Us in North Las Vegas Thursday morning with $7,000 in cash and the $4,000 Toys R Us Northwest Las Vegas Toys for Tots donation, and returned to St. George with an entire trailer full of brand new toys for the Toys for Tots program, retired Marine Gy. Sgt. and Toys for Tots coordinator Rick Massey said.

“So we went down with about $10,000, between the local donation, money from KONY (99.9 FM) Coins for Kids and the grant from Toys R Us,” he said, “and it actually works out to about $14,000 in toys thanks to discounts provided by the store.”

Bicycles are lined up in a toy drive by Toys for Tots and Toys"R"Us and other contributors, St. George, Utah, Dec. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
Bicycles are lined up in a toy drive by Toys for Tots, Toys R Us and other contributors, St. George, Utah, Dec. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys R Us is dedicated to helping less fortunate children in the community, Chase Smith, general manager of the Toys R US located at 7020 N. 5th St., North Las Vegas, said.

And it’s true: Toys R Us and Toys for Tots’ 12-year partnership has raised nearly $48 million and collected 4 million toys for the community, which  includes Washington County.

“It’s a natural connection because we are all about toys,” Smith said, “and Toys for Tots is all about toys, too, and providing them to children at Christmas.”

Since there are no Toys R US stores in Southern Utah, the superstore in N. Las Vegas has helped support Washington County children through the Toys for Tots program for the last seven years, Smith said.

With more than 65 years in the business and over 800 Toys R Us locations in the nation, it’s a perfect fit, Smith said.

Massey said he and his crew take a trip to the store once a year and meet with Smith to go over the number of children and families, the ages of the children and the list of toys requested.

“Those guys are organized and know exactly what they need by the time they get to the store,” Smith said, adding, “they have totals ready for us and let us know where they are short, and we all go shopping.”

Additionally, the group was able to purchase more with the money they had thanks to tax exempt status and discounts, allowing them to completely fill a travel trailer with toys.

Toys R Us coordinator of corporate communications Meghan Sowa commented on the relationship between the retailer and Toys for Tots.

At Toys R US, we love kids, and Toys for Tots shares a similar vision, so the partnership is a perfect match. Toys R Us and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation are united in their commitment to bring the magic of a toy to America’s neediest children during the Christmas season.

The store accepts monetary and toy donations during the holidays, which are then distributed to the different charity programs in the region, including Southern Utah Toys for Tots.

Toys R Us has been phenomenal in supporting us,” Massey said, “which in turn supports our kids.”

Games are stucked up in a toy drive by Toys for Tots and Toys"R"Us and other contributors, St. George, Utah, Dec. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News
Games are stucked up in a toy drive by Toys for Tots, Toys R Us and other contributors, St. George, Utah, Dec. 1, 2016 | Photo by Sheldon Demke, St. George News

As of Saturday, approximately 6,500 toys have been collected or purchased and are sitting in the warehouse. Last year, more than 13,000 toys were delivered to children throughout Washington County, and even larger numbers are projected for this year.

“So, we are almost halfway there,” Massey said.

Marine Corps League of Southern Utah and KONY 99.9 FM radio launched their Coins for Kids and Toys for Tots fundraising and toy drives in November, which culminates in an enormous toy delivery to Washington County families in need a few days before Christmas.

The two nonprofit organizations work together, collecting donations, enlisting volunteers and inviting the community to make referrals of families in need in Washington County that might benefit from the program.

“I see children and parents daily who aren’t able to afford toys,” Smith said, “so to be able to be a part of this program is like being a part of something that makes a child’s holiday dream come true.”

According to the annual holiday fundraising campaign launched by Toys R Us in October, it is the company’s philanthropic mission to keep children safe and help them in times of need.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s premier community-action program and one of the nation’s flagship Christmas charitable causes. As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys R Us is dedicated to delivering a message of hope and bringing the joy of Christmas to America’s less fortunate children. Each holiday season, cash and toy donations are collected in all Toys R Us and Babies R Us stores nationwide and all toys collected remain in the community where they are donated to benefit local children in need.

“It’s all about the kids,” Massey said.

Toys for Tots takes donations until Dec. 23 to ensure no families are struggling last minute to provide a Christmas for their children.

Email: cblowers@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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2 Comments

  • .... December 4, 2016 at 10:34 pm

    This is such a loving and caring community we are so blessed to live here. as a community volunteer I like to thank all those involved in making this possible.

    • Real Life December 5, 2016 at 8:44 am

      Maybe Santa can give you a job for Christmas.

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