Every child should have the opportunity to experience a little joy, especially during the holidays. And equally importantly, as many children as possible should have the opportunity to understand the joy that comes from giving of themselves. This year, I teamed up with several great small businesses around San Diego on a toy drive that allows almost every parent/caregiver to participate in bringing joy to others. Thanks to my sister-in-law’s desire to teach her 2 and 5 year old sons empathy and compassion this holiday season, this “Every Child Counts” gently used toy drive was born.The details are simple. If you or your friends want to help your young children, nieces, nephews, Godchildren, or any other young people you know share in the joy of giving, you don’t have to be wealthy to do it. This gently-used toy drive is meant to give as many people as possible a chance to participate, regardless of income. We know that developing empathy is critical to a young child’s success when they enter school and to becoming great citizens. We also know from research that giving actually does makes you happier than receiving (the old adage ’tis better to give than to receive is, it turns out, based in science!) With so much acrimony and the media reporting massive division, together we can let this holiday remind all of us – and our children – that people are fundamentally good and that empathy for each other really is a core value we share.
How ‘Every Child Counts San Diego’ works
Step 1 – Sit down with your child and select one or more toys that are ‘gently used’
NOTE: ‘Gently used’ is just a term I made up to say this isn’t about getting rid of the Luke Skywalker figurine that the dog chewed up. Focus on the toys that are still in good or great shape.
Step 2 – Drop off your unwrapped toy(s) at any participating San Diego Brewery tasting room locations (see below) between Wednesday, November 23rd and Sunday, December 18th
WHY BREWERIES??? I am a huge fan of the San Diego craft beer community and my friends at these breweries are always the first to raise their hands to help!
Step 3 – Be sure to have a conversation with your child about empathy and how his or her generosity will make another child feel happy. (Tips for teaching empathy)
Share the Giving Spirit! Post a short video to Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter with hashtag #EveryChildCountsSD of your child saying why they gave their toys to others and share it with friends & colleagues.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Does this conflict with Toys for Tots?
A: Absolutely not! I love what the United States Marine Corps does with Toys for Tots, and you should participate if you are able. But this drive doesn’t require unopened gifts because we really want every parent/caregiver at every income level to be able to teach their children empathy and participate in giving! Support Toys for Tots at this LINK.
Q: What if I don’t have gently used toys but still want to give?
A: Great! You are awesome, too. You can still have a great conversation about empathy with your youngster. And then I’d highly recommend making a donation to the following two organizations:
- Voices for Children focuses on giving a voice to foster children when in the court system; OR
- Rachel’s Women’s Center focuses on providing homeless women with a safe, clean place to rest and get care during the day
Q: Who will get the toys?
A: There are a few beneficiaries. First, I reached out to Neighborhood House Association – an incredible organization that provides early childhood education to thousands of San Diegans (it’s where I got my start). Second, the Urban Collaborative Project in Southeastern San Diego is helping connect with needy young people. Third, if you know of a family who could use some help or are reading this and can use a little boost this year in San Diego, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll make the toys available on a first-come, first-served basis.
More about the San Diego Brewers supporting this effort
I have had the good fortune to get to know dozens of craft brewery owners and operators across our region. To learn more about the people behind the supporting San Diego breweries (map), visit them at the links below:
Mira Mesa – Alesmith Brewing Company
Bay Park/Clairemont – Coronado Brewing Company
South Park/Golden Hill – South Park Brewing Company
Downtown/East Village – Monkey Paw Pub & Brewery
Liberty Station/Pt. Loma – 32 North Brewing