Toys for Tots enlists Alexandria nonprofit to distribute toys

Marines behind a table of toys for children.
The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots isn’t waiting for the holidays to distribute toys it collects for needy families this year. It is working with Alexandria, Va.-based Good360 to get items out. (Courtesy Marine Toys for Tots)

With families under coronavirus stay-at-home orders, the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots isn’t waiting for the holidays to distribute toys it collects to needy families this year.

The Marine Corps Reserve-run program is working with Alexandria, Virginia-based Good360 to make sure the toys, books and games it collects get to charities best-suited to distribute them.

The two organizations expect to distribute 2 million items across the country beginning this week.

Good360, founded in 1983, works with dozens of retailers and merchants to distribute excess inventory through its nonprofit network of 90,000 charities across the U.S. each year.

It said demand right now is higher than ever.

“We’re seeing a lot of requests from our nonprofit partners for things like electronics. Specifically tablets and laptops that helps working families with children that are trying to ramp up in a virtual education environment that might not have the tools to do so.”

“As well as toys and games and books,” Good360 CEO Matt Connelly told WTOP.

Since the coronavirus outbreak, Good360 has been working with companies to distribute a variety of items, such as personal protective equipment, face masks, baby food and cleaning supplies, to charities and front-line health care organizations.

“The value our donors get through our model is assurance that their product is going to go to reputable, vetted charities,” Connelly said.

“It won’t end up at flea markets or on Craig’s List. They also get the benefit of saving money within their supply chain because we can reduce the fossil fuel burn of repositioning excess product by distributing that product locally.”

Toys for Tots said it collects an average of 18 million toys that it distributes to 7 million children each holiday season, across all 50 states, through its own distribution network of more than 800 local communities.

But it does not have a network in place outside of the holiday season because Marines are training, deploying and serving the nation’s military call.

“In these unprecedented times, we’re deeply concerned about COVID-19 and its devastating impact on the lives of all Americans and want to offer assistance now,” said Lt. Gen. Jim Laster, USMC (Ret), president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

Hasbro, Lego, Disney, Funko, Five Below and Build-A-Bear are among the companies that have donated many of the 2 million items to be distributed.

Jeff Clabaugh

Jeff Clabaugh has spent 20 years covering the Washington region's economy and financial markets for WTOP as part of a partnership with the Washington Business Journal, and officially joined the WTOP newsroom staff in January 2016.

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