Big Brothers Big Sisters go on a shopping spree for Toys for Tots
By Heather Graves
ASHWAUBENON – Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northeast Wisconsin (BBBSNEW) staff, along with representatives of the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program, shopped until they dropped Tuesday, Dec. 3, to help bring the magic of the holidays to special local children.
Marines and more than a dozen BBBSNEW staff got the chance to play Santa’s helpers as they raced through the aisles of Target picking out toys for 156 special Littles from Brown, Door and Shawano counties.
“A lot of these kids are coming from low-income households and they might not even have the opportunity to have a Christmas, so this is a great way for them to have a holiday season,” said Vic Valdez, marketing and communications director for BBBSNEW.
The toys selected during the shopping spree will be distributed during BBBSNEW’s Holiday Party Dec. 12 at The Woods Golf Course.
Thanks to a donation from an anonymous donor, Valdez said Bigs, Littles and their families will get to enjoy a dinner, visits with Santa, gifts and family activities.
About 300 people are expected to attend.
“Really, without their support, the party just could not have happened, so it’s just great,” he said.
At the party, a Marine will present each child with two different toys and they get to decide which one they would like.
Valdez said this helps alleviate any upset kids.
BBBSNEW has partnered with the Marine’s Toys For Tots program for its shopping spree for the past eight years.
This is the first year it has been at Target.
The holiday shopping may be done, but BBBSNEW is still on the hunt for volunteers to be a Big.
Valdez said there are 25 girls waiting to be matched, and 70 boys waiting to be matched with a Big.
Boys have an average wait of 217 days to be matched.
“Now that is the average, sometimes it’s close to a year-and-a-half wait for some of the boys,” he said. “We will be really focusing next year to try and get more males to sign up to be mentors.”
For more information on how to become a Big, visit the BBBSNEW’s website at bbbsnew.org.