COVID Can’t Stop Christmas: Toy Drive Delivers Hundreds of Toys to Local Children’s Hospitals & Shelters

This time of year can be tough, particularly for children in the hospital or homeless shelters. Add on the challenges of 2020, and well, there are a lot of kids that deserve a lot of kindness. 

But COVID has presented its own set of challenges for our volunteers and supporters as we had to get creative to raise money, collect donations and distribute to those in need this year. Some hospitals were unable to receive any toys, while others were accepting only specific things on specific days – but donations were way down this year across the board so the need was even greater. With quarantine restrictions changing rapidly we were unsure how we were going to pull this off.

That’s where you come in.

Led by the spirit of our project leader, Tanis Liomin, our volunteers and supporters stepped up to find a way to make our 6th Annual Tower Toy Drive a huge success. In total we raised more than $3,000 together that helped us deliver hundreds of brand new toys to each of the following:

Acres of Hope – This is a homeless shelter for women and children in Placer County that does truly inspiring work. Toys provided for all the families to give to their kids on Christmas morning.

Sutter Children’s Hospital – This was our very first hospital and has one of the largest and best Child Life programs you will find. In addition to Christmas morning, toys are also used year-round for birthdays, new patients and their Child Life playroom. Nurses were volunteering Christmas week to come in and wrap all the presents!

Kaiser Pediatric Center – Our newest hospital we were able to expand to that has a smaller, un-funded program within a larger hospital. Toys provided for patients on Christmas and  year-round gifts.

“Thank you soooo much! It is appreciated more than you know!”

Traci Aoki @ Kaiser Hospital

Plus, we received tremendous support again this year from our partners at Toys for Tots that added hundreds of more toys! In addition we had a number of families that purchased and shipped up toys from our Amazon Wish List – Thank You!

And with some advanced planning we were able to get wish lists from each of the locations to make sure we purchased just what they needed (and the kids wanted). Not to mention we were able to get better deals and better gifts by purchasing over the past few months with the help of our Pumpkin Carving fundraiser.

Overall, there were too many to count – hundreds and hundreds of toys that filled multiple truckloads (and our garages) with bags and boxes everywhere! Just some of what we were able to get included:

  • Board games
  • Books
  • Headphones & speakers
  • Art supplies
  • Dolls
  • Sports toys
  • Remote control cars & helicopters
  • And so much more!

Whether you donated money, purchased from our Amazon list or just helped spread the word – you made a difference. 

We’d like to give a special thank you to our project sponsors:

We’d also like to thank a number of Tower supporters that went above and beyond this year:

  • Jill & Carlos Macedo
  • MaryBeth Miller
  • Maria Pietsch
  • Patricia & Joe Gorman
  • Gina & Jamie Melton

And there’s no way this project is successful without the determination of our Tower Team:

  • Project Coordinator – Tanis Perez 
  • Toy Deliveries – The Stephan Family & The Cable Family
  • Toys for Tots Coordinator – Jennie Stroup
  • Marketing – Callie Smith, AnnMargaret Dwyer, Hillari Bynum 
  • Social Media – Melina Sanchez 

So, as you enjoy the holiday season please know what a difference you made this year – a year when we all needed a little bit of help. Take a moment to think about the hundreds of kids in the hospital who will wake up on Christmas with gifts from people they’ve never met. Less fortunate families in shelters will experience the joy of wrapping presents on Christmas Eve and watching their children open them Christmas morning. All made possible by a community of people who care deeply about helping one another. 

Thank you for making this happen. Thank you for your niceness.

Project Delivers Over 1,000 New Clothing Items & Supplies to Local Homeless Shelters

Our 6th Annual Help the Homeless project may have been the most challenging, but also perhaps the most important. While we were unable to do our traditional outreach event in downtown Sacramento on Thanksgiving day, our volunteers and supporters still found a way to help hundreds of homeless people get the clothing and supplies they so desperately need this holiday season.

For years we’ve had more than 100 volunteers show up with clothing and supplies to hand out, but due to COVID we were not only unable to do our outreach event but unable to collect any used clothing items. So this year we had to depend solely on donations to gather new clothing and supplies – and you delivered! 

Through a combination of individual donations, sponsorship and a portion of the money raised from our online pumpkin carving contest we were able to raise over $3,000 plus hundreds of dollars of donated items that were purchased and shipped to us using the Amazon shopping list.  In addition, our continued partnership with the Rock Creek Elementary School WE Club made a HUGE difference as they were able to coordinate an online campaign to have families assemble and donate nearly 300 hygiene kits (valued at $3,000) which enabled us to spend 100% of our donations on clothing and supplies.

In total, we delivered nearly 1,000 brand new items on Thanksgiving day to three local shelters including:

  • Hygiene kits
  • Sweatshirts
  • Jackets
  • Beanies
  • Shoes
  • Pants/belts
  • Underwear
  • Sweatshirts
  • Gloves
  • Tarps
  • Medicine

“I cannot express how humbled and excited we are for everything that was provided! The larger sizes were perfect! The shoes, vests, backpacks, tarps, medical items, socks, undergarments, and everything else has blown our expectations out of the water!!”

Nick Golling, Director @ The Gathering Inn

Your support enabled us to support THREE local shelters between The Gathering Inn and Wind Youth Services that serve HUNDREDS of homeless men, women and children every day from Sacramento to Auburn. EVERY DOLLAR and EVERY ITEM DONATED got directly into the hands of those that need it most. 

Whether you donated money, purchased from our Amazon list or just helped spread the word – you made a difference. We’d like to give a special thank you to our project sponsor, Incredible Family, as well as a number of Tower supporters that went above and beyond this year:

  • The Stephan Family
  • The Miller Family
  • Katy Pye
  • Wally Smith
  • Tom Sullivan
  • The Kaiser Family
  • Lynn Aust

And there’s no way this project is successful without the determination of our Tower Team:

  • Tanis Perez – Project Coordinator
  • Holly Cable – Project Coordinator, Rock Creek Elementary
  • Mary Beth Miller, Jena Sprinkle, Krisa Radmilovic – Rock Creek Elementary WE Club
  • Callie Smith, AnnMargaret Dwyer, Hillari Bynum – Marketing
  • Melina Sanchez – Community Outreach 

As challenging as this year has been for some of us, there are many that are enduring so much more. Take a moment to think of them, but also know that today you made a difference in the lives of hundreds of them. That’s hundreds of smiles and warmer bodies because of you.

Thank you for your niceness.