16,000 Toys To Be Donated to At-Risk Youth in the Southern California Foster Care System

Los Angeles, CA (March 2013) — National CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates) Association and the Toy Industry Foundation have partnered at the national level to provide toys and increase the number of trained CASA volunteers to benefit children in the foster care system. The Toy Industry Foundation has not only provided National CASA and regional CASA programs with $200,000 to support their valuable advocacy efforts, but will also donate more than 25,000 toys this year. The launch of this partnership will take place at the Toy Industry Foundation’s Play Your Part volunteer event on Friday, April 5th in Los Angeles, CA.

National CASA, a network of 946 community based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities, will be working with CASA programs across the country to identify and distribute the donated toys to children in the foster care system.

The Toy Industry Foundation has a long-standing history of providing support for abused and neglected children. The Foundation shares the belief that every child deserves the right to play, regardless of circumstance.

“For every foster child with a CASA volunteer, two others go it alone,” says Michael Piraino, National CASA CEO. “Support from the Toy Industry Foundation will help increase our services to children in need while bringing joy, comfort and hope directly to thousands of our most vulnerable citizens.”

Former foster youth, CASA volunteers and special guests will share their personal stories at the April 5th Play Your Part event, and will join more than 100 Toy Industry Foundation volunteers from Southern California toy companies to package and sort over 16,000 toys for local foster youth. Walmart is donating the use of 2 tractor trailer trucks to ship toys to destinations throughout Southern California, and World Vision has donated the space for the event. Mattel, Leapfrog Enterprises, Funrise Toy Corporation, as well as the toy industry group Women in Toys (WIT) are additional event sponsors, making the initiative possible.

“Support from the Foundation will provide CASA volunteers with a tool in building strong and trusted relationships with the children they serve,” says Jean Butler, Executive Director of the Toy Industry Foundation. “We’re excited to kick off this partnership with such a wonderful event, which will bring many toy industry members together for a cause that means so much to all of us”

Photojournalists and members of the media are invited to attend the event. Details below.

WHAT:                National CASA & Toy Industry Foundation Play Your Part Event

WHEN:                Friday, April 5, 2013, 10AM to 1PM PST (lunch provided)

WHERE:              2300 South Garfield Avenue, Commerce, CA 90040

INFO:              Brian McWilliams / Spelling Communications, 310-838-4010 / bmcwiliams@spellcom.com

About National CASA (www.casaforchildren.org) Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 946 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. The only program of its kind, CASA volunteers are empowered by the courts to provide children with one-on-one advocacy. CASA volunteers see their assigned children regularly and interview all the adults who impact their lives. Volunteer advocates offer judges the critical information they need to ensure each child’s rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care, staying with the child until she is placed in a loving permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.

About Toy Industry Foundation (www.toyindustryfoundation.org)

While other organizations provide food, shelter and support services to children and their families, the Toy Industry Foundation sees to it that these children have toys and opportunities to play in an attempt to restore both fun and a sense of normalcy to their lives. The Foundation currently fulfills its mission through core programs including The Toy Bank™ and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the Toy Industry Foundation. The first industry-wide program of its kind, The Toy Bank receives donations of newly manufactured toys from members of the toy industry and distributes them through local charities to underserved, at-risk and homeless children throughout the United States and around the world.

About Walmart
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 200 million customers and members visit our 10,700 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmartgreen. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.

About World Vision
World Vision is a Christian relief, development, and advocacy organization dedicated to working with children, families, and their communities worldwide to reach their full potential by tackling the causes of poverty and injustice. For more information on their efforts, visit WorldVision.org/press or follow them on Twitter at @WorldVisionNews