It’s toy time at America’s Car-Mart. And for our General Managers, they’ve got their game faces on, and their teams are ready for our 14th Annual Holiday Toy Drive. And this year, they’re all on a mission to collect even more toys.
They’re working with community organizations. They’re enlisting help from their business partners. They’re shopping for special toy requests. And they’re finding more ways to involve their customers in the fun.
Here are reflections from our top toy collectors and how they will approach their toy drive activities this year:
Delivering happiness in Ardmore, Oklahoma
“Our toy drive is by far my favorite promotion at Car-Mart. It’s such a humbling experience to be a part of this; just an incredible feeling,” says Tommy Tompkins, Car-Mart of Ardmore.
“Involving my team and getting their commitment to being a part of something bigger is awesome. The pure joy in their expressions when we get donations or go shopping for toys is very inspiring.”
Last year, Tommy and his team collected 500 toys. This year, their goal is to collect more toys and be the top toy collector in the company!
“Before COVID, we used to be able to go into the hospitals and distribute the toys. I miss those days – seeing the joy and spirits of the families get lifted instantly is a feeling you never forget,” Tommy says. “Nevertheless, tears get shed every time.”
Ensuring Santa doesn’t forget Claremore, Oklahoma
“The toy drive is important to me because I know I had a part in making a child smile while away from home on Christmas, and to keep them from thinking Santa forgot about them,” says Deanna Pratt, Car-Mart of Claremore.
“I am a grandma who is raising my two grandsons, and this toy drive makes me feel really good about what we’re doing,” continues Deanna, whose grandson was in the hospital one Christmas and unable to leave his room. The nurses brought him toys.
Deanna and her team will purchase gas and food gift cards for the parents. “It’s important to help the parents, too,” Deanna smiles.
In 2021, the Claremore team collected 422 toys; this year, their goal is 500 toys.
Making a child’s day with a simple act of kindness at Rogers, Arkansas
“The toy drive is one of, if not the biggest event for us to give back to our communities,” says Curtis Valentine, Car-Mart of Rogers. “It’s so special because Christmas is a time that should be the most exciting for kids. And when you think of children in the hospital, it breaks your heart.”
Associate excitement is key to success at Car-Mart of Rogers. “Our associates know we can have a huge impact on children in the hospital over the holidays,” Curtis adds. “The feeling of knowing we can make a child’s day really pushes us to collect as many toys as possible. And we’d love to see every child in the hospital have one, two or even three toys.”
Curtis and his team are relentless in reaching out to people in the community, other businesses, and vendors to donate. “We are fortunate to have so many caring people in this area to help with donations that I can’t thank them enough,” continues Curtis.
Over the past two years, Car-Mart of Rogers collected 1,200 toys. “This year, our goal is to collect enough toys to put a toy in every child’s hand and take their minds off what they are going through,” Curtis says.
It’s more than a toy drive in Owasso, Oklahoma
Josh Sanders at Car-Mart of Owasso started Christmas in July. He’s connected with his vendors and local businesses.
“We want our voice to be louder this year when it comes to our toy drive,” says Josh, while adding his goal is to collect 600 toys this year. Last year, they collected 459 toys.
In October, the store’s Halloween tree boasted 50 toys, so they’re well on their way. Josh and his team will make sure their customers and community know all about the toy drive. “I tell our customers our toys stay in the Tulsa market, and I’ll share my story,” says Josh, whose son spent, Zakariah was born at Children’s Hospital at St. Francis, Tulsa, Okla., and was there for 93 days. Read Josh’s story – Toys Making a Difference at Children’s Hospitals.
It’s all about the kids
All general managers believe helping our communities is one of the most important things we can do as a company. “And delivering Christmas presents to the children is a small example of sharing our compassion for others,” concludes Deanna.
Want to help kids in the hospital this holiday season?
Bring a toy (or two or three) to your local America’s Car-Mart. We’ll take it from there. In December, our Car-Mart associates will deliver the toys to the kids at 25 children’s hospitals in our 12-state area. Learn more about our Holiday Toy Drive.