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/ Source: TODAY
By Lauren Locke

TODAY is proud to announce its 25th 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 $465 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.

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.

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.

Celebrity "elves" will be collecting toys from Nov. 28th and continuing through Dec. 21st. 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?

For those of you who can't be here in person, we've made it easy for you! You can also donate online at www.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 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

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. 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:

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

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 25th Holiday Toy Drive the most successful ever. It comes at a time of great need.