Friday, February 8, 2019

Toys ‘R Us Bankruptcy Negatively Impacts Toys for Tots Program

Toy store giant, Toys ‘R Us, recently broke the hearts of many when it recently filed for bankruptcy. On top of making it much more difficult for parents to find the appropriate toys for their children this past holiday season, it also had a very negative effect on the Toys for Tots program, making it very difficult for the charity to adequately obtain the toys it needed to donate to families in need. 

A Strong Partnership

Toys for Tots, a long-running program conducted annually by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, collects and donates toys to the children of parents who are unable to otherwise afford to buy them. Originally the program used to leave a container outside of most Toys ‘R Us stores so that their customers would be able to drop a toy on their way in or out of the store. By doing so, this enabled stores to collect a nice amount of donations – for some stores even thousands of toys. 

Large Percent Corporate Giving to Toys for Tots Charity

Aside from allowing the Toys for Tots program to leave bins outside of their stores, it also donated a considerable amount of money directly to the program. Last year the toy store donated $5 million (40 percent of all corporate giving) to the program. This also aided the charity in buying additional toys should they not receive enough donations. 

Aftermath and Impact of the Bankruptcy

Understandably, the toy store’s bankruptcy seems to have had a profound impact on the charity and its donations. This past December saw a large decrease in toys given. In many cities, donations were down about 25 percent since the year prior – a difference in some cities by as much as 250,000 toys. 

Luckily, with Toys ‘R Us out of the picture, there were still many companies that stepped up to donate monetary contributions. Such companies included the likes of Disney, Hasbro, and Build-A-Bear. The national Toys for Tots Foundation distributed 18 million toys to 7 million children across the United States in 2017. Assuming that the need remained the same as the year prior, 2018 would have to have seen a similar amount of toys in order to remain successful. 

Did Corporate Giving Hurt Toys ‘R Us?

In hindsight it now seems questionable that Toys ‘R Us continued to donate so much financially when the company itself was clearly struggling with finances. After all, it donated $5 million annually to the charity. However, it is important to recognize that a lot of the gifts that were donated were purchased from Toys ‘R Us itself, essentially giving back the same money that was given to it for that. Additionally, giving to charity creates and maintains goodwill within the community and often serves as a net bonus for businesses – regardless of Toys ‘R Us’ final outcome. 

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