For this DE Volunteer outing, it’s the holiday season so this was an opportunity to bring a little happiness to those less fortunate! Last year we helped out Toys for Tots, but this event will be even bigger and slightly different.
We helped out at the 97th annual Toy Depot which was held December 14-16 in the Exhibition Hall at the Alliant Energy Center where the Empty Stocking Club distributed toys to approximately 3,800+ families and more than 9,000 children.
For almost 100 years, the Wisconsin State Journal’s Empty Stocking Club’s goal has always been the same: Make sure children receive at least one nice gift at Christmastime.
For this activity, we worked as “Toy Helpers,” helping the families pick out the toys for their children. It reminded me of assisting people at local food pantries, where you are with someone individually (or a family) and walk them through the site, letting them decide what they want based on their sheet. In this case, instead of points for food, they got to choose one toy per child – everything from infant toys, dolls (very popular), Star Wars items, remote control cars (also very popular), craft items, games, sports-related items, and much more. A bunch of us also brought toys to donate as well. There was a great selection and felt good to be part of bringing happiness to boys and girls in the area during the holidays.
Funny aside: Apparently, Toys for Tots was doing their annual toy distribution at the same time as the Empty Stocking Club…right next door. So when we started, I and a few folks walked in the wrong door and thought “we signed up to distribute toys, this must be it!” We ended up helping them for about 20 minutes (hence us in green shirts above) until I realized I was missing half my volunteers. Of course, the other half followed (my!) directions and were already helping people at the Empty Stocking Club’s event. It all worked out in the end and hey, we helped out in both areas! (Also, was funny to see that Toys for Tots still had all those Taylor Swift posters and shirts leftover from last year – they’ll have them forever!
Also, thanks to Jessica Hrubes who volunteered but couldn’t stay for the group picture. Thanks Jess!