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  • Writer's pictureKidzz Helping Kidzz

The Incredible Journey of Toy Drive 2023: Brightening Lives and Spreading Joy

Updated: Jan 6

Kidzz Helping Kidzz incredible journey of 2023 annual toy drive.

This month has been truly amazing at Kidzz Helping Kidzz headquarters! We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of support from the community. From the tireless efforts of our volunteers to the generous donations from our sponsors, this year's toy drive has been a resounding success. Join us as we reflect on the incredible journey that brought us to this point and express our deep appreciation for all those who made it possible.

The Toy Drive: A Labor of Love

This month, Kidzz Helping Kidzz headquarters has been abuzz with excitement and anticipation. People from all over Kitsap, King, and Pierce Counties came together to make a difference in the lives of children in need. With the toys pouring in, we held six toy sorting work parties to label, sort, and box the generous donations. The dedication and passion of our volunteers was truly inspiring, as they worked tirelessly to ensure that every toy donation was ready for distribution.

Spreading the Message of Hope

Each toy that came through our doors was carefully labeled with our Kidzz Helping Kidzz logo and contact information. However, this year, we wanted to take it a step further. We added a QR code to our labels, allowing children and their families to "share their story" about what it meant to receive a Kidzz Helping Kidzz toy. This interactive feature provides an opportunity for children to express their gratitude and share the impact of their gift with others. It is heartwarming to see how these small acts of kindness create a ripple effect of hope and positivity.

Boxing Joy: A Puzzle of Love

Boxing the toys may sound like a simple task, but it was far from easy. The process required careful organization and coordination. Certain toys could be grouped together, turning the boxing process into a delightful puzzle. Volunteers with excellent visual-spatial skills thrive in this work, creating perfectly organized boxes that bring joy to children's faces. The dedication and creativity of our volunteers made the toy drive even more special.

The Amazing Team Behind the Scenes

No successful endeavor is possible without a dedicated team. We would like to express our heartfelt appreciation to our amazing drivers who played a crucial role in the toy drive. They picked up toy collection boxes from all over Kitsap County, ensuring that no donation was left behind.

Let's meet the incredible individuals who made it happen:

Team A: Port Orchard & Bremerton Route

Janis and Dave Gibbard volunteers for Kidzz Helping Kidzz annual toy drive 2023.

Janis and Dave Gibbard, an amazing couple who volunteered for the third year, embarked on this challenging route. Janis's exceptional organizational skills and creativity allowed her to carefully plan their route, ensuring that they arrived at each location at the designated time. Their commitment to the cause was truly admirable.

Team B: Silverdale Route

Katie Waltz volunteer for Kidzz Helping Kidzz annual toy drive 2023

Katie Walz took on the Silverdale Route, which had the highest number of collection boxes. Despite the additional workload, Katie's efficiency and determination led her to finish her route first. Her dedication was truly remarkable.

Team C: North Kitsap Route

Wendy & Marcus Kile volunteering for Kidzz Helping Kidzz toy drive 2023 covering North Kitsap.

Wendy and Marcus Kile covered the North Kitsap Route, which included Kingston, Bainbridge, and Poulsbo. This dynamic duo tackled the longest driving distance of all the routes, yet they managed to complete their journey in record time, taking less than four hours. Their commitment and resilience were truly commendable.

Team D: Churches & Schools

Rhandel, Zachary, Noah volunteers Kidzz Helping Kidzz.

Rhandel, along with the help of Zach and Noah, took charge of picking up toy collection boxes at various churches and schools. This particular route had a tight schedule, as the boxes needed to be collected before our toy sorting party. Despite the time constraints, Rhandel and the team managed to accomplish their task right on schedule. Noah's determination was evident as he was seen carrying two toy collection boxes at once.

We are immensely grateful to these incredible individuals who went above and beyond to ensure the success of the toy drive.

Partnering with Hope Worldwide Scouts

hope worldwide scouts and kidzz helping kidzz volunteers toy drive 2023

This year, we had the pleasure of partnering with the Hope Worldwide Scouts, a family community engagement program aimed at fostering a sense of service and compassion in children from kindergarten to 8th grade. Under the guidance of Scout Leaders Katie and Jenn, the troop joined our toy sorting work party and made a significant impact. Their passion and dedication were evident as they worked alongside our volunteers and even joined us in delivering toys to hospitals. The Hope Worldwide Scouts exemplify the spirit of giving and inspire us all to make a difference in our communities.

A Community United: Generous Donations

The success of the toy drive would not have been possible without the support of various organizations and individuals. We would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the following groups and individuals who made generous contributions:

Peninsula Bible Fellowship

Peninsula Bible fellowship donates 2,099 toys top Kidzz Helping Kidzz in 2023.

On December 14, Peninsula Bible Fellowship made a significant contribution to our toy drive. The donated toys, totaling 2099, were a testament to their commitment to brightening the lives of children. We are immensely grateful for their support.

Churches in Kitsap

Several churches in Kitsap County also played a vital role in Kidzz Helping Kidzz toy drive 2023.

Several churches in Kitsap County also played a vital role in the toy drive. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Bremerton, Alive Church in Bremerton, Hillcrest Church in Bremerton, Charleston Bible Fellowship (CBF) in Bremerton, and Silverdale Lutheran Church all made generous toy donations. Their contributions were invaluable, and we are deeply thankful for their support.

Office of the Washington State Auditor

Office of the Washington State Auditor donates to Kidzz Helping Kidzz annual toy drive 2023

The Office of the Washington State Auditor in Port Orchard organized their own toy drive specifically for Kidzz Helping Kidzz. Their dedication to our cause was heartwarming, and we are grateful for their support.

Kuresman Insurance

Kuresman Insurance with Emery, Zachary, Noah and Beth from Kidzz Helping Kidzz 2023

Kuresman Insurance, one of our newest sponsors, made a significant contribution to our toy drive. Their generosity and understanding of the importance of toys for children in hospitals were truly commendable. We appreciate their support and advocacy for Kidzz Helping Kidzz.

A member from their team has an 8 year old daughter who has been in the hospital on several occasions and knows the value of receiving toys at bedside. At such a young age, Emery is such an amazing advocate for Kidzz Helping Kidzz! Last summer she held a “lemon squeeze” stand at a neighborhood picnic and raised over $500 for Kidzz Helping Kidzz! Go Emery!

Puget Sound Region USA Volleyball

Puget Sound Regional Volleyball, Dragan, Operations Director, pictured in 2023 Toy Donations Kidzz Helping Kidzz

Dragan Karadzic, Director of Operations at Puget Sound Region USA Volleyball, and his amazing volleyball teams rallied behind our cause. They brought over 800 toys, showcasing their commitment to making a difference in the lives of children. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to Dragan and the incredible volleyball players who supported our toy drive.

Xi Gamma Lambda

Kathy Watson - Xi Gamma Lambda - Kidzz Helping Kidzz Donation of toys from sorority and tax-deductible cash donation - Thank you!

The local chapter Xi Gamma Lambda, part of the Beta Sigma Phi organization, made beautiful toy donations and a generous financial contribution. Kathy Watson, a member of this amazing group, expressed their interest in possibly volunteering at our warehouse next year. We are grateful for their dedication and generosity.

The support from these organizations and individuals has been instrumental in the success of the toy drive, and we are incredibly grateful for their contributions.

(Tap lines to see daily amounts of donations collected)

The Gift of Giving: Delivering Joy to Children at Bedside

Seattle Children's Hospital, St Anthony Hospital, St Michael Medical Center Kidzz Helping Kidzz annual toy drive 2023 recipients.

With new toy donations arriving daily, it became essential to strategically allocate the toys to the remaining three hospitals: Seattle Children's Hospital, St. Anthony Hospital, and St. Michael Medical Center. Our team carefully designated which boxes of toys would go to each hospital, ensuring that every child would receive a gift that would bring a smile to their face.

Prepped with a rented 26' U-Haul truck, our team loaded the toy donations with the help of our dedicated Advisory Board of Kidzz. In under 60 minutes, we had the truck ready for its journey. The following morning, we gathered at "Kidzz Helping Kidzz headquarters' ' to review our itinerary and set off in a convoy of cars, accompanied by the U-Haul filled with the precious cargo of toys.

Seattle Children's Hospital

Seattle Children's Hospital toy drive Kidzz Helping Kidzz fundraiser toy delivery day.

Our journey began early in the morning at "Kidzz Helping Kidzz headquarters" (aka Zach's house). Despite a change in plans due to dense fog, we arrived at Seattle Children's Hospital ahead of schedule. We took this opportunity to capture the moment and express our gratitude to the community. 

Due to the height of the U-Haul truck, we had to park in the parking lot and transport the boxed toys in the elevator. Despite this logistical challenge, our team managed to unload approximately 5,000 toy donations in just under an hour. 

The joy and excitement were palpable as we delivered the toys to the hospital, knowing that they would bring comfort and happiness to the children receiving them.

St. Anthony Hospital

St Anthony Hospital toy drive delivery group photo; Kidzz Helping Kidzz fundraiser 2023

Next, we made our way to St. Anthony Hospital, where we were warmly greeted by Suny Porter, Director of Nursing Operations, and the Executive Leadership team. Suny expressed her gratitude to the Advisory Board of Kidzz Helping Kidzz for their remarkable work and presented them with a special St. Anthony Hospital challenge coin. This coin symbolized the values of Virginia Mason Franciscan Health and acknowledged the compassion and dedication of our Advisory Board. The impact of their efforts on the lives of children in Puget Sound hospitals was truly inspiring.

St. Michael Medical Center

St. Michael Medical Center toy drive delivery group photo; Kidzz Helping Kidzz fundraiser 2023.

Our final destination was St. Michael Medical Center, where Chad Melton, the President, and his exceptional leadership and staff welcomed us. Together, we unloaded the toys from the truck and placed them under the hospital's grand Christmas tree in the lobby. Chad took a moment to honor Zachary and our Kidzz Helping Kidzz Advisory Board for their civic leadership, acknowledging the incredible achievement of delivering 41,000 toys to ill children since our first toy drive in 2016. 

To show their appreciation, Chad presented the kids with movie tickets, candy, and hot chocolate from Starbucks. The tour of the basement, where the toys are stored before being distributed to children in the emergency room, was a highlight for the kids, who were captivated by the magic happening behind the scenes.

Reflecting on the Impact

As we look back on the past several years of the Kidzz Helping Kidzz toy drives, we are filled with awe and gratitude. The journey from humble beginnings to impacting the lives of 41,000 children has been nothing short of extraordinary. We owe our deepest appreciation to the community for their unwavering support and the sponsors who provided us with the necessary resources. Without their generosity, none of this would have been possible.

Recognizing Our Heroes: The Volunteers

Kidzz Helping Kidzz has been fortunate to have the support of incredible volunteers.

Throughout the year, Kidzz Helping Kidzz has been fortunate to have the support of incredible volunteers. Their dedication and selflessness have brightened the lives of countless children in need. We would like to express our gratitude to the following individuals who took time out of their busy schedules to make a difference:

U-Haul Truck and Van Drivers

  • Janis & Dave Gibbard

  • Dave Marquis

  • Katie Walz

  • Wendy & Marcus Kyle

  • Rhandel Darner

Toy Delivery Volunteers

  • Stephanie Devey

  • Ashley Kirk

  • Juvy and Tito Perez

  • Lucy Severns

  • Rhandel Darner

  • Aaliyah Chandler

Toy Pick-Up Volunteers

  • Pam & Larry Keller (Bremerton)

  • Laura Leder (Port Orchard)

  • Debbie Slaton (Silverdale)

  • Cheryl Bradley (Poulsbo & Bainbridge Island)

  • Clint Boxman (Kingston)

Advisory Board of Kidzz Helping Kidzz

  • Zachary (age 14)

  • Paige (age 14)

  • Makayla (age 17)

  • Everette (age 14)

  • Leighton (age 14)

  • Logan (age 12)

  • Arianna (age 15)

  • Selah (age 12)

  • Matthew (age 15)

  • Jameson (age 15)

  • Ava (age 12)

  • Bella (age 12)

  • Kendall (age 16)

  • Chloe (age 12)

The dedication and commitment of these volunteers have been instrumental in the success of our toy drive. We are immensely grateful for their support.

Continuing the Journey: More Lives to Brighten

Since our inception in 2016, Kidzz Helping Kidzz has distributed an astounding 41,000 toys to children at St. Michael Medical Center, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, Seattle Children's Hospital, and St. Anthony Hospital.

Since our inception in 2016, Kidzz Helping Kidzz has distributed an astounding 41,000 toys to children at St. Michael Medical Center, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital, Seattle Children's Hospital, and St. Anthony Hospital. Each toy has brought a moment of joy and happiness to a child facing challenging circumstances. 

We invite you to consider supporting Kidzz Helping Kidzz by donating toys, time, or by making a tax-deductible payment to our cause. 

Together, we can continue to brighten the lives of children in need and spread the spirit of giving throughout our community.

From all of us at Kidzz Helping Kidzz; Thank you, Merry Christmas, and Happy New Year!

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