Tiffany, California – Gift Recipient and Donor
I grew up in a refugee family and we came during the Vietnam War. As a child, I did not understand that we grew up in a low-income and poverty-stricken family. My parents always somehow made it work. We didn't go hungry and we had a safe place to live with the basic necessities. I remember on a couple of occasions, my parents would come home with a few toys during the Christmas season. We didn't have much growing up, but I distinctly remember having a couple of toys to play with. My brother and I had so much fun pretending, imagining and playing with those toys. I never forgot those moments.
One day, as an early 20-something-year-old in college, I saw that my sister, who is about ten years older than me, was gathering several large bags filled with brand new toys. Shocked at the amount of toys, I asked her what she was planning on doing with them. She stared at me and said, "Don't you remember getting toys as a kid and how happy that made you?" I responded, "Yes, I remember dad coming home with toys and once when I got in line at a firehouse and came out with some toys." I didn't understand why I was in line for them at the time. I think I may have been five or six years old, but I just remembered the excitement of holding a toy in my hand. I didn't understand that we were poor and that my parents couldn't afford those little indulgences. My sister then responded, "Well, you got them from Toys for Tots. I'm giving back to them what they gave to you and our brother. You should too."
Thinking back to those times, seeing my sister remember decades later and now being a working adult myself, I remember how much that meant to my little brother and me. I now make an effort to donate every year to Toys for Tots to pay it forward. Thank you and all the supporters so much for what you do. You have no idea how much that has touched me and it literally brings tears to my eyes thinking back to those times. I get happy and giggly as an adult as I buy toys to donate to your Foundation. Toys for Tots offers a glimmer of hope to children and it's those moments of joy that are ingrained into recipients through adulthood. Keep up the amazing work!