About the Toys for Tots Literacy Program

Mission: The Toys for Tots Literacy Program offers our nation's most economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing them direct access to resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively.

Background: An objective of the Marine Toys for Tots program is to play an active role in the development of our nation’s children by delivering hope that can assist these children into becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens.

For more than 70 years, Toys for Tots has been bringing smiles to the faces of children-in-need through the gift of a new toy. While Toys for Tots is committed to this tradition and continues its toy program, it is extending its reach through the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.

A long-time supporter of Toys for Tots, The UPS Store saw an opportunity to support the thousands of communities it serves through the creation of the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.

Developed in 2008 by The UPS Store and Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program is designed to offer our nation’s most economically disadvantaged children direct access to books and educational resources to enhance their ability to read. This program not only brings the joy of reading to these children, but also serves as an important tool in breaking the cycle of poverty.

Since the program launched in 2008, UPS and The UPS Store network have raised millions of dollars to purchase books for children in need. As a result, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program has distributed nearly 42 million books to children across the United States.

How It Works: Every donation to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program benefits local children in need or the libraries, schools, and existing programs that serve them. One-hundred percent of each dollar donated at The UPS Store locations is used to purchase books for less fortunate children. Every dollar helps put a book into the hands of a local child in need!

How to Support: Donate cash or new books at participating The UPS Store locations. Donations can also be made online. Customers can check with their local The UPS Store location to find out if they are conducting a book drive. To find the nearest location, go to www.theupsstore.com

Literacy Facts & Figures:

  • It is estimated that the cost of illiteracy to business and taxpayers is $20 billion per year. (United Way, “Illiteracy: A National Crisis”)
  • 1 in 4 children in America grow up without learning how to read. WriteExpress Corporation. "Literacy Statistics." Begin to Read. Accessed April 16, 2014.
  • Children who aren’t reading at grade level by the end of third grade are four times as likely to drop out of high school. Donald J. Hernandez, Double Jeopardy: How Third-Grade Reading Skills and Poverty Influence High School Graduation. The Annie E. Casey Foundation; Center
  • There are an estimated 15 million children in the U.S. living below the federal poverty threshold. National Center for Children in Poverty
  • In low-income neighborhoods, the ratio of books per child is 1 age-appropriate book for every 300 children. Neuman, Susan B. and David K. Dickinson, ed. Handbook of Early Literacy Research, Volume 2. New York, NY: 2006, p. 31
  • “Access to books and educational material is the single biggest barrier to literacy development in the United States. If we can solve the problem of access, we will be well on the road to realizing educational parity…” Susan B. Neuman, Ph.D. University of Michigan, Center for Improvement of Early Reading Achievement


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