October 14, 2015 // Franchising.com // Wayne, NJ – Toys"R"Us® today announced the launch of its annual nationwide fundraising campaign to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Now through Sunday, December 6, customers can spread holiday joy to some of the 15.5 million U.S. children living in poverty by donating new, unwrapped toys at any Toys"R"Us or Babies"R"Us® store across the country and online at http://www.Toysrus.com/ToysforTots. The company will also collect monetary donations in-store and online through Christmas Eve.
NBA Legend, philanthropist and entrepreneur, Shaquille O’Neal once again joins the company’s campaign as his alter ego Shaq-A-Claus, to encourage shoppers to donate to Toys for Tots. Throughout the campaign, Shaquille will also invite social media users to #PlayItForward, an initiative designed to further spread awareness of the millions of children living in poverty and to inspire families to donate to the cause.
"Making wishes come true around the holidays is especially important to me, as I know how much one toy and one act of kindness can matter. When I was a kid, I was given my very own Dr. J autographed basketball, inspiring me to believe I could grow up to be a basketball star," said Shaquille O’Neal. "For years, I would shop for presents at Toys"R"Us and distribute them to underprivileged children on Christmas morning. Now, in partnership with Toys"R"Us and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, I’m making it my mission as Shaq-A-Claus to give back and spread holiday cheer to the millions of needy kids in the U.S. I encourage everyone to join me this year and remember – every toy counts!"
Throughout the 10-week holiday giving campaign, fans and followers of Toys"R"Us on social media will enjoy exclusive content, including special messages from Shaq-A-Claus, fundraising updates and more. To motivate his own followers to #PlayItForward, Shaquille will also tweet and Instagram (@SHAQ), as well as post on Facebook at Facebook.com/ShaqVerified.
And, Shaquille will make it even easier for Twitter followers to give the gift of play to kids in need this holiday season with a special tweet on #GivingTuesday. For every retweet of Shaquille’s #PlayItForward tweet on December 1, the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund will donate one toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $125,000 worth of toys.
"We are thrilled to partner with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation once again to provide toys to children who might otherwise go without one this holiday season," said David Brandon, Chairman and CEO, Toys"R"Us, Inc. "We are honored to have Shaquille O’Neal back in his Santa suit, helping us #PlayItForward, and value his ongoing commitment to join us in spreading the joy of Christmas to kids in need around the country. Together, we’re enlisting the help of our team members and customers to donate more toys and dollars than ever before."
Customers looking to #PlayItForward while shopping with Toys"R"Us, can view The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List, the official Toys for Tots gift registry filled with toy suggestions, such as crafts, play sets, electronics, plush and more. Parents and gift-givers can view The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List on the company’s dedicated hub at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots, where visitors can buy toys online and ship them directly to Toys for Tots. Additionally, the list can be printed in-store at designated Wish List kiosks or at the Customer Service Desk, providing shoppers a reference as they search for a toy to donate. All toys collected in-store are distributed to children in need within the particular community they are donated, making this a truly local program.
"For more than a decade, the support from Toys"R"Us has delivered happiness on Christmas mornings to the millions of U.S. children living in poverty," said LtGen Pete Osman, USMC (Ret), President and CEO, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "We are incredibly thankful to the company for joining us in our mission, and we urge Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us customers to help Shaq-A-Claus deliver a record-breaking year of fundraising. Each donation allows even more children to experience the magic of finding a gift under the tree."
As the largest retail partner in the history of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Toys"R"Us has raised nearly $42 million and collected more than 4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004.
The philanthropic mission of Toys"R"Us, Inc. and the Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund is to keep children safe and help them in times of need. The Toys"R"Us Children’s Fund contributes millions of dollars annually to various children’s organizations, including those providing disaster relief to victims of large-scale crises, as well as those supporting America’s military families. The Fund also provides grants to leading special needs organizations, furthering the company’s commitment to children of all abilities. In addition to financial and product donations, Toys"R"Us, Inc. hosts in-store and online fundraising campaigns annually that raise millions of dollars for the company’s signature philanthropic partners.