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TODAY's 24th Annual Toy Drive: Make holidays sparkle for kids, teens in need

TODAY is proud to announce its 24th annual Holiday Toy and Gift Drive — and this year we are in need of special toys for some very special children.

Since 1994 we've helped more than 4 million underprivileged children, distributing about $450 million in donations to more than 180 organizations across America and to U.S. military bases abroad. Learn how this became a treasured tradition on the Plaza, here.

The smallest gift can mean the world to a child in need. And this year, we would like to help all the children whose lives have devastated in areas struck by natural disasters. As you celebrate with your family, take a moment to let these children know they're loved. We hope you will share the joy this holiday season and open your hearts.

TODAY

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., drop off your gift at the Rockefeller Center NBC Experience Store, in the special TODAY Toy Drive bin.

Celebrity "elves" will be collecting toys from Nov. 30th and continuing through Dec. 22nd. Celebs who have helped in past years include George Clooney, Kerry Washington, Usher, Jon Hamm, Ian McKellan, Maya Rudolph, Matt Damon, Claire Danes, Samuel L. Jackson, Scarlett Johansson, Ben Stiller, Robert De Niro, Michael Buble, Paul Rudd and so many of your favorite stars. Who knows who will be wearing the Santa hat when you visit?

Have a toy you would like to donate but aren’t around for the show? Stop by the greeter stand, located by the studio bank elevators in the direct center of the 30 Rockefeller Plaza, to drop off your toy with an NBC Page. Just look for the TODAY Toy Drive signs, and you’re there!

For those of you who can't be here in person, check back soon to find out how to donate online.

If you're interested in making a company or group contribution, 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 you should help

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.

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. Natalie Morales helped the children at New York's Graham Windham wrap donated gifts for its annual party.

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Deserving children open gifts from TODAY toy drive

Play Video - 3:37

Deserving children open gifts from TODAY toy drive

Play Video - 3:37

Read more about some of the participating organizations in our Charity Spotlight series:

Project Sunshine – New York, NY

Jenesse Center – Los Angeles, CA

Kids in Crisis - Cos Cob, CT

Portland Homeless Family Solutions – Portland, OR

Domestic Violence Intervention Services – Tulsa, OK

Sociedad Latina – Roxbury, MA

Dorcas House – Little Rock, AR

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. We hope you will share the joy this Holiday season and open your hearts.

More on the Toy Drive:

The TODAY Show Toy Drive is a project of the TODAY Show Charitable Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. All donations are tax-deductible to the extent the law allows. In 2008, it was honored with a President's Volunteer Service Award.

Let's work together in making our 24th Holiday Toy Drive the most successful ever. It comes at a time of great need.

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