Via Press Release: Wayne, NJ (October 20, 2009) – To help bring toys – and smiles – to America’s neediest children, today Toys“R”Us, Inc. announced it has teamed up with four-time NBA Champion Shaquille O’Neal to encourage consumers to donate toys and cash to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation this holiday season. The fundraising campaign officially begins October 22 in Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide and online at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots.
The partnership with O’Neal was inspired by his annual visits to Toys“R”Us stores on Christmas Eve to purchase toys for children in need. His 15-year history of buying and distributing these toys to underprivileged children in cities across the country earned him the name, “Shaq-A-Claus.” This holiday season, the legend of Shaq-A-Claus will continue when O’Neal makes surprise visits to Toys“R”Us stores in the coming months to shop for needy children and encourage customers to give back.
“I’m really just a big kid myself, and I can’t imagine a child going without a toy to unwrap during the holidays,” said Shaquille O’Neal. “Toys are magical for kids! My life was transformed one Christmas morning when, as a boy, I received an autographed Dr. J basketball from Toys“R”Us. With millions of children living in poverty in this country, I urge everyone to ‘Join Shaq Give Back’ this holiday season.”
“Toys“R”Us and Shaquille O’Neal have a shared love of all kids, and we are delighted that he has joined us to help children in need this holiday season,” said Jerry Storch, Chairman and CEO, Toys“R”Us, Inc. “The “R”Us family is proud of its longstanding history of giving back to the communities we serve through the Toys for Tots program. We have no doubt that our customers and employees will enthusiastically support this program once again.”
During the nine-week campaign beginning today, new, unwrapped toys will be collected through December 6 at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores across the country. Collected toys will be distributed to children in the communities where they are donated, making this a truly local program. Monetary donations will be accepted at all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us locations and online at Toysrus.com/ToysForTots through Christmas Eve.
On Thursday, November 5 and Friday, November 6, Marines and other Toys for Tots representatives will be stationed at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores nationwide to bring added attention to the “Join Shaq Give Back” campaign in local markets.
Customers can also “Join Shaq” online at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots. This dedicated website features a video greeting from the four-time NBA Champion, along with “The Legend of Shaq-A-Claus,” which explains O’Neal’s history of giving back to children in need.
Facebook Fans Can Virtually “Join Shaq Give Back”
In the virtual space, Facebook members can also “Join Shaq” now through Christmas Eve, when they become fans of Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us at either Facebook.com/Toysrus or Facebook.com/Babiesrus. For every new fan who joins now through Thursday December 24, Toys“R”Us will donate $1 worth of toys to Toys for Tots.
As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has raised more than $16.2 million and collected more than 1.4 million toys since the partnership began in 2004. To jumpstart the 2009 campaign, the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund made a $250,000 grant to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. This program is also supported by the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund. On the web: www.toysfortots.org.
Source and photos: Toys "R" Us