On the plaza

TODAY's 20th Anniversary Toy Drive: Make holidays sparkle for kids, teens in need

Nov. 25, 2013 at 12:15 PM ET

UPDATE: Thanks to everyone who opened their hearts and pocketbooks this holiday season, we've sent $28 million in gifts to more than 200 charities reaching 4 million disadvantaged children and their families in 2013. In 20 years, the Today Show Charitable Foundation through the Toy Drive has distributed $363 million in donations. 

Thank you to everyone who contributed — so many families will have a more joyous holiday because of your generosity. See more about the generosity of one of our biggest donors, Thirty One Gifts, giving back to their  local Boys & Girls Club

Join us this holiday season for TODAY's Toy Drive.
TODAY
Join us this holiday season for TODAY's Toy Drive.

TODAY has kicked off our Holiday Toy and Gift Drive – and this year we’re celebrating 20 years of giving.

Since 1994, we've distributed more than $335 million in donations, helping more than 3 million underprivileged children, to more than 200 organizations across America and to U.S. military bases abroad

How do you donate?

Come down to the TODAY plaza if you're near New York City — celebrity "elves" collect toys daily during the broadcast. (If you arrive after 10 a.m. ET, drop off your gift at the Rockefeller Center NBC Experience Store, in the special TODAY Toy Drive bin.)

Celebrity "elves" will start collecting on Dec. 2. Celebs who have helped in past years include George Clooney, Jon Hamm, Robin Williams, Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, former Vice President Al Gore and Olympian Michael Phelps. Who knows who will be wearing the Santa hat when you visit?

Kerry Washington collects toys on the plaza for the annual Toy Drive.
Peter Kramer / NBC
Kerry Washington collects toys on the plaza for the annual Toy Drive.

You can also donate online at Amazon.com/TODAY. Click the Amazon link, add as many items as you like to your cart, complete the checkout, and Amazon will do the rest. 

If you're interested in making a contribution in a different way, please email todayshowtoydrive@nbcuni.com or call (212) 664-7508.

All donations are appreciated, no matter how big or small. We are most in need of toys for boys of all ages, and tweens and teens up to age 18.

Why this cause?

Every 29 seconds, a child in the United States is born into poverty, with limited access to food, medical care and basic human services. For many, TODAY is their ONLY source of gifts for the holidays. There will be no toys this holiday season for these children unless you choose to help.

Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson join Matt on the plaza to collect toys during the holiday season.
NBC
Scarlett Johansson and Samuel L. Jackson join Matt on the plaza to collect toys during the holiday season.

The program is designed to provide gifts and essentials for impoverished children and teenagers up to age 18 nationwide. It has also expanded to include gifts that children are able to give their parents, because giving provides joy in itself.

These items go to millions of kids in all 50 states. Recipients include homeless shelters, children's group homes, schools, foster family services, domestic abuse shelters, Native American missions, military bases, hospitals, preschools, after-school programs, and the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. Last year, Natalie Morales helped the children at New York's Graham Windham wrap donated gifts for its annual party. Read more about some of the participating organizations in our Charity Spotlight series.

The smallest gift can mean the world to a child in need. As you celebrate with your family, take a moment to let these children know they're loved.

Video: The TODAY show’s 20th annual Toy Drive is set to highlight another holiday season, and “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” author Jeff Kinney provides details on how to donate.

More on the Toy Drive:

The TODAY Show Toy Drive is a project of the TODAY Show Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501c3 non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows. In 2010, it was awarded the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Foundation Philanthropy Award, and, in 2008, it was honored with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

Let's work together in making our 20th Anniversary Toy Drive the most successful ever. It comes at a time of great need.

2013 Donors: 

Our sincere thanks go to the following organizations for their generous contributions: 

Thirty-One Gifts, Mary Kay, Little Brown Books for Young Readers, Direct Selling Association, PartyLite Gifts, DK Publishing, Lego, Initials Inc., Stampin' Up!, Music Together, Avon,  Abrams Books, The Southwestern Company, Oral-B® Professional™, Tupperware, Jakks Pacific, Inc., Amazon.com,HomeGoods,  Kohl's Department Store, Arbonne, Cheerios,  Stride Rite, TOMYRandom House, Shaklee,Cutco, Senegence, Signet Jewelers,  Gund, Goody, Toy Industry Foundation, Hillshire Brands, UPPAbaby, Clever Container, Hasbro, Amway, lia sophia, Caboodles, B'nai B'rith International, BananagramsJewel Kade, Bona Clara, Udderly Smooth, Living Fresh Collection, Great American Opportunities, All Dazzle,DeTech, Hard Rock International, Radio Flyer, Team National, Vantel Pearls, Cartamundi USA, Children of America Dolls, Creations By You, Do-a-Dot Art, Green Toys, Griddly Games, International Arrivals, International Playthings, Little Pim, McNeill Designs, Orb Factory, Safari Ltd., Savvi, Schleich USA, Smart Gear, Smart Toys and Games, ThinkFun, Ukloo Kids, VTech, WowWee USA, Wyla, Inc.,

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