A few weeks ago I got a Facebook invitation to the Annual Toy Drive in Joburg, which sounded so amazing and valuable, that I *needed* to share it here too.
You might think that you don't need to read on or contribute the drive because there will always be someone else to donate their old toys, or money towards new ones, but there's the thing – your one teddy bear, or puzzle, or Lego pieces, or pencil crayons, can make a huge impact, so read on for how you can donate the toys your kids no longer need.
The organiser of the toy drive, Shana Kay Derman, has been arranging these drives since 2008, and has collected hundreds of toys to 14 organisations looking after kids. This year's drive is on April 8 at 10am at Zoo Lake, so you can come and drop off your toys. If you can't make it, you can make a donation for a teddy or toy via Paypal (details on the site) or directly into the bank account.
I asked Shana a few questions about the drive, and what's needed/involved.
What exactly are you collecting?
We are collecting baby goods, toys and cash. Please note that in the past people have just tossed out broken things, which is why I always state that the items should be in very good condition and appropriate for kids to play with. Once we had someone donate golf balls, but a kid throwing a golf ball at another kid is not a good idea. So soft toys, blankets, story books, teething items. = good.
Where will the money go if people donate?
ALL cash raised and I mean ALL goes to buying soft toys, baby things and anything else indicated by the identified organisation we choose. Sometimes they indicate they need formula, then we get some too.
Generally, it is used for plush toys, teddy bears, baby blankets, baby grows and other soft toys. Anything admin-related meaning packets/tape/packaging etc. needed to bundle or deliver the items is personally paid for by me.
I also buy toys and baby things for the Toy Drive, and my last contribution in baby things to the Toy Drive was R5000.
What is the feeling of giving toys like, i.e. what is the reaction of the kids like?
Oh my gosh, I'm tearing up thinking about this. Before I had a baby, it was an incredible feeling to see faces light up, start crawling/running in excitement, and the toys were okay, but then I had the experience of what babies and little kids get most pleasure out of.
These babies/toddlers have nothing usually and after we leave them with teddy bears, soft balls and other age-appropriate toys, we are not only helping them but the carers who take care of them.
My heart always wants to take a few kids home with me, because I feel like the world should not have dealt them the hand they have. But alas I cannot. So instead, I try my best to inform the world of the organisations that need help and raise toys for them, to bring a smile, even if it is for a short period of time.
What can one expect at the event on 8 April at 10am at Zoo Lake?
The event location is still to be finalised, but because we save all money we can, we will have it somewhere outdoors with some guests “artists” such as Kevin Derman (who sponsor their time), playing some music for us, and an area where kids can play.
It’s really just a gathering where people can drop their donations (cash or toys) and have a fun morning/afternoon at the same time. In the past we have had sponsored venues and food etc. So who knows what we can get for this event. Sponsorships welcome. If anyone wants to join our “open mic” session, they are welcome to try their talents.