For Crystal Kuster, the Holiday Toy Drive at America’s Car-Mart is a labor of love and she does it all for the children. After all, she coordinated the company’s first-ever toy drive in 2009. Through the years, she’s continued to lead the effort for Car-Mart’s Oklahoma Region. And, this year, she’s leading the company-wide initiative.
“It means a lot that I am able to do this each year. I never thought our toy drive would reach as many kids and families as it does now,” says Crystal, Assistant Small Claims Manager at Car-Mart of Claremore, Okla. “It’s a huge blessing and a very humbling experience.”
Crystal has fond memories of past toy drives. One year, she and her team received a touching gesture from a little girl named Emma. “We gave her a present and she gave us a gift in return by singing. It was very touching,” Crystal smiles.
Yet, it’s the behind-the-scenes with her toy drive team once the toys arrive that is the most unforgettable. “Being able to see the generosity of strangers come through our doors with presents for kiddos is amazing and honestly, there have been a few tears over the years seeing how much people care.”
This year, toys will be delivered to 14 hospitals in Car-Mart’s 12-state area. [See the list of hospitals below].
Moreover, more toys mean more joy for more kids and families, according to Crystal, while aspiring to see Car-Mart’s toy drive grow in impact every year.
Creating moments of happiness
“I’m a single mom to a healthy, beautiful 16-year old daughter who is my world. Life is tough enough without medical complications, but being able to allow a child or a parent to take a break from whatever reality they are facing right now and give them a few moments of happiness – how could that not be important?”
“Helping out kids in need – that’s what it’s all about,” concludes Crystal. “If we can bring a smile to a kid’s face for five minutes, we’ve done what we needed to do. That’s our goal.”
Share your Joy – Give a Toy
During November, it’s our Holiday Toy Drive campaign at America’s Car-Mart! Bring in a new, unwrapped toy (valued at $10 or more) and take advantage of half off the down payment on any vehicle. Or just drop off a toy.
The hospitals to receive toys as part of Car-Mart’s Holiday Toy Drive include:
- Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Little Rock, Ark.
- Arkansas Children’s Northwest Hospital, Springdale, Ark.
- Children’s of Alabama, Birmingham, Ala.
- Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Atlanta, Ga.
- Children’s Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
- Cook Children’s Medical Center, Fort Worth, Texas
- Mercy Children’s Hospital, Springfield, Mo.
- Norton Children’s Hospital, Louisville, Ky.
- John’s Medical Center, Tulsa, Okla.
- Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, Memphis, Tenn.
- The Children’s Hospital, Oklahoma City, Okla.
- The Children’s Hospital at St. Francis, Tulsa, Okla.
- TriStar Centennial Medical Center, Nashville, Tenn.
- Women’s and Children’s Hospital, Columbia, Mo.
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