Helping children in need: Marines kick off Toys for Tots campaign at Toys 'R' Us stores

MILWAUKEE (WITI) -- Toys 'R' Us stores will welcome Milwaukee-area residents as they kick off the company’s annual holiday toy drive to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Through this partnership, children in need will receive gifts to unwrap on Christmas morning.

Local Toys for Tots representatives will be stationed at select Toys“R”Us stores on Thursday, November 6 from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. to encourage customers to donate toys and cash.

Customers may donate new, unwrapped toys at any Toys“R”Us or Babies“R”Us store through Sunday, December 7, and monetary donations will be accepted in-store and online at through Christmas Eve. All toys donated at Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us stores will stay within the community, making this a truly local program.

This year, NBA Legend, philanthropist and entrepreneur Shaquille O’Neal is reporting back to Toys for Tots duty as his alter ego Shaq-A-Claus to encourage customers to donate to the cause, along with a new mission that will help double the giving: the #PlayItForward Challenge. Throughout the campaign, Shaq-A-Claus is asking supporters to take the ultimate “un-selfie” – a photo of themselves donating a toy in any Toys“R”Us store across the country.

For every selfie shared using #PlayItForward, Toys“R”Us will donate an additional toy to Toys for Tots, ensuring even more children in need have a toy to open on Christmas morning.

This marks the 11th year of the partnership between Toys“R”Us and the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. As the largest retail partner in the 65-plus year history of Toys for Tots, Toys“R”Us has raised more than $35.5 million and collected more than 4 million toys since 2004.