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The Greatest Gift is the Gift of Giving

Toys for Tots Donation CardFor more than 60 years, Toys for Tots has been bringing smiles to the faces of less fortunate children through the gift of a new toy. The Toys for Tots tradition is well known and respected in every community nationwide. In 2008, with the help of The UPS Store®, Toys for Tots extended its reach and impact in a meaningful way by providing children in need with the gift of a new book.

This new initiative, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, brings the joy of reading to these children, but also serves as an important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty. It is estimated that there are approximately 14 million children living in poverty in the U.S. and unfortunately, after the recent recession, this number is increasing.

In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is one age-appropriate book for every 300 children.* I know, it’s hard to imagine this as you look around your child’s room and see books filling shelves and piled up next to their bed, where, every night you enjoy one, two, or three books together before bedtime.

It just so happens that my favorite family tradition takes place every Christmas Eve when my dad, or “Papa” as he is known to his grandkids, pulls out “‘Twas the Night Before Christmas,” piles the kids on his lap, and with great enthusiasm reads to a captivated audience. On their first Christmas Eve, each grandchild is given their very own edition of this Christmas classic, which each will treasure for a lifetime.  

I am sure that many families have a similar tradition, whether it is the same story or another Christmas classic. There are, however, many children that may never have had these books read to them – ever. During the holidays, so many of these children wake up on Christmas to nothing under the tree and some lose faith in the magic of the season.

As you are out shopping and shipping this holiday season, consider donating a dollar at a participating The UPS Store location. For every dollar donated, a book is placed into the hands of a local child in need. Donations can also be made online at http://www.toysfortotsliteracy.org/.

And, amongst the piles of toys and video games you buy for your own children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews, pick up a couple of books and start a tradition of your own.

 *Included in the “Handbook of Early Literacy Research”, Vol. 2 edited by Susan Nueman and David Dickinson

Category: Caring for Communities
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