Why our Holiday Toy Drive is Giving Back — and Taking Something Away

Many companies work with or donate to some sort of nonprofit charitable organization,  so it was of no surprise when I started at ChappellRoberts earlier this year to learn that we supported corporate social responsibility.  What was a surprise, was the sheer number of nonprofits that this agency has supported. In fact, all of our work with nonprofits has added up to ChappellRoberts being recognized as the 2018 Philanthropic Small Business of the Year by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, FL Suncoast Chapter.

This level of giving was both inspiring and contagious. I wanted to be a part of it.

With the holidays quickly approaching, I had not yet heard of a toy drive being organized internally. We work closely with nonprofit partner Feeding Tampa Bay, and do a lot to support hungry neighbors in our community’s.  Our work with Feeding Tampa Bay helps to put food on many tables, but I saw a missed opportunity for all the kids out there who don’t have any toys.

Pondering this dilemma, I wanted to communicate that when you participate in a toy drive, it’s not just a toy you’re giving. There’s meaning behind it. Imagine a child’s sorrow when they realize another Christmas has come and gone and they’ve received nothing. Or, imagine how they feel going back to school after the holidays and not being able to respond when asked what they received for Christmas. It’s embarrassing to have to say “nothing.” Picture the shame and exclusion a child may feel. A simple toy can take these painful feelings away, and I wanted to symbolically show this at a donation box in our agency. I contacted local nonprofit The Spring of Tampa Bay, and my idea came into fruition.

A giant wrapped box and a simple gift tag:

Sometimes it is not what you give, but what you take away.
See what you can take away from the kids at The Spring when you donate a toy this holiday season.

The box was filled to the brim with balloons. Written on each balloon were words like “embarrassment”, “sorrow”, “exclusion”, “shame”, and “dejection”. In order to fit a toy donation in the box, our team and others who donated had to remove a balloon. A pin attached to the gift tag allowed donators to pop each negative emotion, a noise that also announced to the office that another gift had been received.

Now, the box is full of toys, and these gifts are being donated to the children of The Spring of Tampa Bay. This wonderful organization’s mission is to prevent domestic violence, protect victims, and promote change in lives, families and communities.

Whether you gave to our toy drive or another one, remember that it is not always what you gave, but what you took away instead.

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