Nonprofits to give free toys to military kids

PORTSMOUTH, Va. – Representatives from the Toy Industry Foundation and Boys & Girls Clubs of America are scheduled to give free toys to children of military families at the Coast Guard Base Support Unit Portsmouth gymnasium from 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. Thursday.

At this event, which is open to servicemembers from all military branches, there will be approximately 1,100 toys for infants and children as old as 10 years old, and each child who attends will recieve two toys.

The toys were donated to the foundation’s signature program, The Toy Bank, by hundreds of toy manufacturers across the country.

Through the TIF and BGCA’s Play Comforts partnership, the foundation will provide toys to BGCA members in areas with high deployment rates across the country. The BGCA members then provide the toys to military children in those areas. The initiative will be its first-ever national toy distribution program to canvas every branch of the military.

Captain Edward Eng, commanding officer of the Coast Guard Community Services Command, will accept the toys on behalf of the Coast Guard and Navy communities. Volunteers and staff members will then distribute toys and refreshments for the children and family members.

“We appreciate the Toy Industry Foundation’s contributions and commitment to our military families,” said Terrill D. Wicks, BGCA’s vice president of military services and international projects. “Deployment of one or more parent can be a very stressful time for children. To see the smiles on the faces of these children after they receive the gift or toy provided by TIF is extremely rewarding.”

“The Toy Industry Foundation is deeply committed to giving back to our military families who have given so much for our country,” said Jean Butler, the foundation’s executive director. “These children are in special need of support, and it is our hope that through the joy of play, we can provide the comfort they so deserve.”

Military families bringing their children to this event are asked to sign up in advance with the Base Portsmouth division of Morale, Well-being and Recreation at 757-483-8690 or 757-483-8688.

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