Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Caring Causes: My Stuff Bags/TIA

May is National Foster Care Month and I ran across this charity that focuses on helping kids in foster care: My Stuff Bags.

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is in a national partnership with My Stuff Bags Foundation, a charitable organization that provides hope to children in crisis, especially those suffering from abuse, neglect and abandonment. Every year children are rescued from abuse and often enter shelters with nothing of their very own. The TIF and My Stuff Bags partnership ensures that each year at least 30,000 of these boys and girls will receive a My Stuff Bag filled with essential items including clothing, toiletries, handmade blankets and a toy.

You can donate to the Toy Industry Foundation to support this and other causes. To find out more information, I interviewed Jean Butler, Executive Director, Toy Industry Foundation.

1) What does My Stuff Bags do? How did it get started?
The My Stuff Bag Foundation was created in 1998 to meet the immediate psychological and physical needs of children who must be rescued from abuse, neglect and abandonment and who frequently enter crisis shelters with nothing of their own. The My Stuff Bags Foundation provides a My Stuff duffel filled with new essential belongings, such as toys, blankets, clothing, school supplies and more, to thousands of children each year.
2) How did the TIF/My Stuff Bags partnership happen?
The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) partnered with My Stuff Bags Foundation in 2008. In addition to providing more than $525,000 in grant funding, we've also provided more than 400,000 toys to this wonderful organization.  We believe in the transformative power of play in the lives of all children; this is even more essential in the lives of children who suffer abuse, loss and sudden separation from family. Through TIF's partnership with My Stuff Bags Foundation we're demonstrating to these children that people really do care about them.
3) What makes this cause so important?
Each year more than 300,000 children are rescued from abuse; they often enter shelters with nothing of their very own.  TIF's partnership with My Stuff Bags Foundation helps to ensure that each year at least 30,000 of those in need will receive a My Stuff Bag filled with items they will use every day, including toys which provide a joyful respite from their stressful situations.
4) Does the TIF support any other causes?
We have a national partnership, which we support with grant funding, with the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Military Services, which enables us to distribute toys to children on US military bases around the globe. Our other cornerstone program is The Toy Bank, a year-round product donation program through which we distribute nearly one million toys to hundreds of organizations that serve impoverished children and sick children. TIF also launched the Play Connects program, which is designed exclusively for Toy Industry Association members and allows them to nominate a local charity that serves children in need to receive a $10,000 grant from TIF.  We typically dispense three of these $10,000 grants in a given year. Lastly, TIF is now open to receive grant proposals from other organizations whose mission is in alignment with ours.  This means that TIF will be able to reach even more children who need our help!

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