Toys for Tots Is Going Digital to Help Get Holiday Gifts to Kids in Need in This Remote Pandemic Year

With donations down due to the pandemic, Toys for Tots is aiming to make it easier and safer to give. Here's how to participate.

Toys for Tots
Photo: Toys for Tots and ShopWithScrip

The holiday season often inspires charitable acts, and families have been supporting Toys for Tots for over 70 years. The program, run by the the United States Marine Corps Reserve, was founded in 1947 as a way to ensure that all kids—regardless of their parents' economic situation—would receive toys this time of year.

Sadly, despite the fact that more families are facing financial strain this year, donations are down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. That's why the organization has partnered with gift card fundraising platform ShopWithScrip to go virtual. Here's the scoop.

Toys for Tots and ShopWithScrip's Virtual Toy Drive—located online at—aims to make gifting easy and safe. On the site, you can choose a retailer and dollar amount you'd like to spend. Then, the selected retailer handles the shopping, based on Toys for Tots' needs, ensuring that the gift is delivered to one of 810 local Toys for Tots campaigns nationwide.

In addition, the retailers and/or ShopWithScrip will make an additional donation to the organization based on a percentage of gift card/toy sales.

Retailers participating in the initiative include Walmart, Barnes & Noble, Best Buy, Dick's Sporting Goods, Build-A-Bear Workshop, and Buy Buy Baby, making the Virtual Toy Drive a one-stop shop for gifts that will bring joy to kids of all ages.

Margaret Murphy, CEO, ShopWithScrip, explained in a press release, "We are always looking for ways of using our technology for good, and we recognized an enormous opportunity to host a virtual toy drive to provide for families in need, with Toys for Tots as our partner."

Ted Silvester, Vice President, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, added, "While in-person shopping may look different this year for many, there are still many children and families who rely on Toys for Tots and we want to do whatever it takes to make their holiday special."

Given the heightened need for donations and the safety concerns donors are facing this year, moving Toys for Tots online only makes sense. Here's hoping the simple set-up leads to a very happy holiday season for children all over the country.

For more ways to get involved or donate, check out

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