Our favorite holiday tradition is back again for the 13th year! It’s our Holiday Toy Drive. Our goal is to collect 25,000 toys for delivery to 25 children’s hospitals in our 12-state area. Last year, we collected 11,000+ toys for 15 children’s hospitals!
Recently, we sat down with Rebecca Neely, Development Officer for Arkansas Children’s Foundation, to learn why toy drives are so important.
Why are you and the Arkansas Children’s Hospital excited about toy drives conducted by Car-Mart and other companies and organizations?
It makes such a big difference for the families and throughout the year. At Arkansas Children’s, we get so many toys on this day, Friday, December 10th. We are able to bless our families at Christmas and on holidays and celebrations throughout the year – birthdays, last treatment parties, or when a child is going through surgery.
In 2020, our hospital collected over $300,000 in toys and donations. It gets bigger and better every year. America’s Car-Mart has been the biggest toy donor in the last two years. It’s incredible to see the support from the company and its customers. It’s so amazing to see everyone is rallying around these kids.
Why are toy drives so important to the kids at the hospitals?
It’s so hard to be a child in the hospital during the holidays. That’s the main reason these toy drives are so important. The kids can feel the support of the community behind them. And they know the community is rallying around them.
When the kids receive their presents, their faces light up. They are so thrilled to receive a present during the holiday. It’s so magical. These toys hold special memories for our patients for years to come.
We would not be able to offer this experience without the generosity of companies like Car-Mart. Our nurses and doctors are overwhelmed by this kindness. All throughout the year, they are able to give toys to kids who are having a tough time because of the support of the community.
What are the toy needs of the kids?
We get a lot of toys for younger kids. However, our big need is for teenagers. Adult coloring books, craft kits for the teens, and nail polish for the girls. Model car kits, video games and sports gear for teenage boys. We also need toys for infants and toddlers such as blocks, rattles, stacking toys, sippy cups.
NOTE: For more information or additional ways to give, visit archildrens.org/wishlists
Talk about the toy drive for Arkansas Children’s Hospital?
Our theme for our Festival of Stars toy drive is ‘Can You Imagine.’ Can you imagine being a child in the hospital during the holidays? Can you imagine the joy you can create when you give a toy this holiday season?
We have two toy drives – one in Springdale for Arkansas Children’s Northwest and one in Little Rock for Arkansas Children’s Hospital. This year, our toy drive drive-through event occurs on Friday, December 10 from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
The toys we collect are used in our Snowflake Shop where in-patient families can select toys, at no cost, to give to their children, or have Santa do so. We know families just don’t have time to go shopping. Plus, finances are usually tight when your child is in the hospital.
Parents not only shop for their child in the hospital but also get the opportunity to shop for siblings. Each child gets at least one big toy and then a few mid-size and small-size toys. Once a parent selects the toys, volunteers wrap the toys for the kids.
It’s a wonderful experience.
Want to help kids in the hospital this holiday season?
Bring in four, new unwrapped toys and drive away for $499 Down on select vehicles. Or just bring a toy (or two or three) to your local America’s Car-Mart (no purchase necessary). We’ll take it from there. Consider Car-Mart your toy collection destination. Learn more about our Holiday Toy Drive.