My family and I recently attended the Arizona Helping Hands Holiday Toy Drive. A fun, family-friendly event for families, the Holiday Toy Drive allows kids to donate toys to foster children and learn about the many ways Arizona Helping Hands gives back to the community. Arizona Helping Hands was founded by the late Honorable Paul R. Donaldson and his wife, Kathleen, who made a promise to her dying sister to “do a good deed each day without taking credit for it.” Becoming a nonprofit organization in 1998, this organization has served tens of thousands of needy children since.
The Holiday Toy Drive began with a guided tour of the warehouse. The kids then placed their donated toy into the age-appropriate bin. It was so wonderful to see the many bins overflowing with toys for foster children. Next, the kids made a picture frame craft and got to fill a bag with festive treats. My girls were amazed at how many items filled this large warehouse and loved the adorable gingerbread house. This is a playhouse where kids can hang out while their parents shop at the warehouse. I hope to make this event a yearly family tradition!
Arizona Helping Hands is the largest provider of essential needs for children in foster care in the state. They provide diapers, wipes, clothing, and other essentials. They also provide kits like: “Foster Footlockers” (providing older youth living in group homes a secure place to store their personal and prized possessions), “Birthday Dreams” (a personalized gift bag filled with gifts and a new book to make every child feel special), “Birthday in a Bag” (a birthday party kit complete with cake mix, frosting, candles, cake pan, streamers, and balloons), “A Safe Place to Sleep” (new bed or crib), and a “Dream Kit” (filled with personal care items, new & gently used clothing, and safety equipment to make the road to becoming a foster parent easier).
Arizona Helping Hands gives back through annual events like the Holiday Toy Drive, the Back to School Drive (with a goal to donate 6,500 backpacks filled with all the necessary supplies to start the school year), and the Foster Family Fun Day (a free event for foster and kinship families that includes attractions for kids of all ages to bring foster families together for a memorable day that includes everything from food, prizes, bounce houses, petting farm, DJ, crafts, toddler play area, and other fun attractions!).
There are many ways to get involved with this organization. These opportunities include: sponsoring a collection drive, participating in team-building volunteer activities, shopping the Amazon Wish List, donating on the website, volunteering in the warehouse individually or as a group, and celebrating a special event by collecting donations. Pre-teens and teens also have the opportunity to fulfill service projects by volunteering (Bat & Bar Mitzvahs, Eagle Scouts, etc.).