The "Today" show is thrilled to announce that its 2004 holiday toy and gift drive is the most successful in its 11 year history. Thanks to the generous contributions of viewers and corporations, a record $32.6 million worth of toys, books, games, sports equipment, clothing, toiletries, gift certificates, computer software and other wonderful gifts were distributed to three million children in 210 charitable non-profit organizations in all 50 states.
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.
The first toy drive in morning show history is unique in providing gifts for underserved children and teenagers nationwide. The "Today" show began its Toy Drive on November 29th and finished on December 24th. During that time it collected thousands of toys from the crowd outside Studio 1a and distributed nearly four million items from its partner companies.
Now a Rockefeller Center tradition, surprise celebrities visited the crowd each morning to gather up their donations. Among those who came to help this year: Jim Carrey, Sarah Jessica Parker, Edie Falco, LL Cool J, Chris Isaak, Hillary Swank, Harry Connick, Jr., Lynn Redgrave, NY Mets manager Willie Randolph, Oscar winner Anna Pacquin, Joe Perry from Aerosmith, Susan Lucci, Days of our Lives star Allison Sweeney, Molly Shannon, Tony award winner Phylicia Rashad, NASCAR Champion Kurt Busch and Jimmy Buffet came to celebrate the holiday spirit with the crowd on the plaza.
All donations, large and small, put a smile on the face of a child who may otherwise not have received any gift for the holidays. The items are often given to families who cannot afford to buy presents, so that the children can open a gift from a loved one. These items go to homeless shelters, children's group homes, foster family services, domestic abuse shelters, Native American missions, military bases, hospitals, preschools, after school programs, and Boys and Girls Clubs of America.
We want to thank everyone who donated online or visited us in Rockefeller Center for their continuing support of our holiday gift drive. We thank the celebrities, companies, viewers and friends who shared in the spirit of the season and the spirit of giving. We wish you all a very happy and healthy 2005.