Cambridge Who’s Who is excited to be an annual sponsor of Toys for Hope, an organization that uses 100% of its funding to provide homeless children and their families with toys, books, clothing and essential household items. Toys of Hope’s mission is for all children, regardless of financial status, race, religion or nationality to receive things that can give them a happier and more fulfilling life. To a needy or homeless child, a new toy can make a huge difference; it brings a sense of pride to the child for having something of their very own to hold on to.
Every year during the holiday season, Toys of Hope holds a benefit fundraiser at Oheka Castle in Huntington, New York. 2007 marked the second year in a row that Cambridge Who’s Who sponsored the Toys of Hope Children’s Event at Oheka Castle as a King sponsor with a $10,000 donation. In 2006, Cambridge Who’s Who not only participated as a King sponsor but also held an employee drive to collect additional donations and gifts for the children. In addition, the President of Cambridge Who’s Who personally donated one gift per child expected to attend the event – that’s 350 gifts!
“Not only has Cambridge Who’s Who been a strong supporter of our annual holiday party, they have also allowed us the means to rent a storage facility, which is invaluable to our year long operations,” said Melissa Doktofsky, founder of toys for Hope. In the past Toys for Hope would actually need to turn down volunteers and large donations because the storage facilities were too small and inadequate. Volunteers would be packing gift bags in a narrow hallway and have to make numerous trips up and down stairs to load the van regardless of weather conditions. Even though the need for volunteers was great, the lack of room hindered their operation. Doktofsy continued to say that, “Due to Cambridge Who’s Who sponsorship our holiday operation went so much smoother. This year we were able to receive large donations and utilize the assistance of all of our volunteers. As a result of Cambridge Who’s Who most generous donation, we were able to accommodate and assist many more families.”
Children ages 3 to 5 are invited to the event featuring clowns, a DJ, Spongebob, Elmo, Dora the Explorer, celebrities and known sports figures making it a day the children will always remember. The children meet Santa Claus and take home gift bags of items for themselves and their family during the holiday season. The organization also encourages other children to get involved and invites boy scouts, girl scouts and elementary school students to volunteer by collecting and distributing toys.
Toys of Hope was established by Melissa Doktofsky in 1994. When Doktofsky realized that there were many unfortunate children living under severely difficult circumstances, she began purchasing toys with her own money and delivering them to shelters, community centers and needy homes. She then started contacting local community groups and clergy to help her anonymously deliver items to families in need and garner support for her budding organization. Over time, many local community groups have come to rely on Toys of Hope for help in supplying needy children with toys and other items.
From these beginnings, Toys of Hope has grown through the generous support of dozens of individuals and local businesses. The organization operates all year round and relies solely on the efforts of caring volunteers to accomplish its mission of helping children in need. There are no paid employees and 100 percent of the funds contributed go towards helping needy and homeless children and their families.
Toys of Hope has many programs such as Music Lessons in which children receive musical instruction from volunteers at their home or in the Toys of Hope office, the Literacy Program that teaches children to read and relies on book and reading material donations from local stores including Barnes & Nobles and Scholastic Books and the Tutoring Program that provides children with tutors to help them with their homework. Other major programs include “Poor Paws,” “Out for a Day,” Art Lessons, Tennis Lessons, Summer Camp and the Dental Program.
Toys of Hope is a not-for-profit corporation registered with the State of New York and the IRS. All donations are tax-deductible to the maximum allowed by law. If you would like to donate to Toys of Hope, learn more about their organization and programs or become a volunteer, please visit www.toysofhope.org for more information.