Burlington County Toys for Tots in need of birthday bash donations for children in foster care

A special toy drive and fundraiser is now underway to help a local Toys for Tots. But, this isn't for the  holiday season, but a first-of-its-kind for the non-profit.

"This is some of the toys that were donated so far. These just came in," said Gina Capate. It looks and sounds like she is gearing up for the holiday season. After all, she is the coordinator of the Burlington County Toys for Tots.

"I do Christmas, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah and Three Kings," she said. But what she is planning right now is something different.

"We thought birthday celebration. No matter when your birthday is we are going to celebrate you on that day," she said about a special day, specifically for children in foster care.

"The child is going to be able to pick the toy, they'll get a gift bag, they'll get their loot bag and they'll get their cupcake. They can take their sandwich to go if they want to or they can eat it there," she said. Gina gave a tour around the storage place for the event and what she has so far for the 200 plus kids who will attend.

"Each child can put their stuff in a gift bag," she said. Shelves are stocked with toys for the kids ages one-year-old to 21.

There will be stuff for the older kids to choose from, too.

"Ear buds, makeup sets, bath and body sets, Axe body wash sets and things like that," she said. She will also have sensory toys for children with autism.

"We do things like these magna formers, kinetic sand and fidget toys," she said. It seems as if everything is prepared, but Gina says she needs a lot more to pull off the party.

"These are some of the decorations we have that people have donated. We need more paper products," she said. Snacks are needed too.

"Like juice box and small items. Some lady saw it on Facebook and sent me this which has every kind of different snack you can imagine," she said. Gina wants everything to be perfect for these kids who deserve the best but may not have it.

"We see the parents and see some of the kids who don't have anything so maybe for one day a year that child feels loved," she said.

The party will be held May 23rd at the 25 Club in Maple Shade.

For anyone interested in helping, information is on the Mount Laurel Marine Toys for Tots website, here, or on their Facebook page, here

Checks are also accepted and should be made payable: Toys for Tots. Checks should be sent to: 18 west Woodlawn Ave Maple Shade, N.J. 08052.

The deadline for donations is May 17, 2023. To drop off toys, snacks or party decorations call 856-313-4001 to arrange drop off place and time.