Stepping Up to the Challenge for the 2020 Annual Holiday Toy Drive
We can all agree that 2020 was quite the year! Nonetheless, Skylight Financial Group staff and associates stepped up to the challenge of giving back to our communities. More than ever this year, families all around Ohio needed our help and we were able to provide them with the holiday season they deserve.
Despite being restricted BY COVID-19 guidelines, the Cincinnati Toy Drive was a huge success! The office raised a little over $3,500 and collected 524 gifts to distribute throughout the community. Skylight Financial Planner Tim Foster shared, “It was a great experience being able to help with the toy drive this year. The support we received from clients and colleagues was incredible. To see all the gifts we were able to provide and to be a part of preparing those for the kids was awesome. The pictures we got showing the children receiving their toys was so rewarding.”
Cincinnati partnered with Officer Emody and Sargent Hicks of the Cincinnati Police Department, District 3. With the help of the CPD, Santa was able to visit 60 students in kindergarten classes at both Lady of Lordes school and St. Lawrence school in Price Hill. Each student was gifted a game, a coloring book and crayons, and a goodie bag with trinkets and candy.
With the rest of the donations, toys and gift cards were purchased for the CPD to distribute to families in need. About 50-60 families have been adopted through the Roberts Academy and will receive gift cards to Walmart to purchase food and gifts, as well as a range of toys specific to the age groups for the children in each family.
The Cincinnati Police Department was vital to the success of this drive. We were able to stuff multiple cruisers with toys, delivering smiles you can see through masks. Cincinnati Operations Assistant Erin Kolb said, “I am very happy with the turn out for this year’s drive and I cannot wait to see the success grow in years to come!”
This year, the Toledo office raised $4,441.88 from the fun internal events, donations, and donation matches. They had $2,441.88 to allocate to purchasing toys, and the remaining $2,000 was donated to Sylvania Police and will go towards their work with the Sylvania Area Family Services. The local Meijer blessed the Toledo team with a $500 gift card and multiple discounts, allowing them to purchase 406 toys! Meijer was so accommodating and allowed them to purchase as much as possible to help with our mission. The office Elf Power Shoppers were Skylight Associates Kelley Gibbons, Kathy Kawczynski, Jill Collins, Angie Wingerd, and Mary Gensler, and along with the help of Kris Wingerd and Todd Kozlowski that made up the Toledo toy drive team.
The Toledo Police came to pick up the toys from the office on December 11th so they could be properly distributed around the community. “I truly think the COVID-19 pandemic helped us this year to realize that the need is real for some folks around our community. When we were able to add a bonus family to our efforts, our associates stepped up to help create a wonderful Christmas for a family that was in desperate need this year. I am so incredibly proud to be part of the Skylight team, and our Toledo office is a big part of what makes the toy drive such a success across the state,” said Toledo Operations Coordinator Mary Gensler.
This year, with the help of generous organizations including the Cleveland Police Foundation, Target (Steelyard, Cleveland, OH location), and WKYC, the Cleveland office raised over a whopping $31,000 and donated over 3,000 toys around the community! “The event was once again a fantastic success and as we’ve seen in previous years, we continue to have the ability to grow in the volume of money raised and toys donated,” said Skylight Financial Planner Jonathan Goldston.
On December 5th, the office hosted a Stuff-the-Truck Event in Ohio City Square with the Cleveland Police Foundation, where they collected 500 toys and $4,000, making it a major contribution to the overall success of all their toy drive efforts. The staff and associates of the Cleveland office provided generous monetary donations and toys, even though they had to limit physical participation. Through A Special Wish Foundation, they fulfilled the Christmas wish lists of 10 families that have children with life-threatening illnesses. The Toy Drive also helped provide Christmas for a single father of a 7-month-old and 2-year-old whose wife passed away during childbirth, while battling COVID-19.
The rest of the toys were given to the Cleveland Police Foundation to be distributed to children in high-stress situations. “The silver lining in the adjustments we had to make due to COVID-19 (switching from an indoor networking event to an outdoor drive-thru event) allowed us the opportunity to find an even better way to grow the event and create community awareness and greater involvement,” shared Operations Manager Michelle Arch.
Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Dublin office was unable to host the annual Touch a Truck event with the Washington Township/Dublin Fire and Rescue as in past years, but this certainly did not stop clients and associates from participating in a virtual, online shopping experience through Amazon to support the cause. The office raised nearly $2,500 in donations and matches, combined with a total of 80 toys and books from online orders.
The Dublin team was able to match previous years’ gift totals for the Toys for Tots program
locally, and the toys were directly sent to the Firefighter 4 Kids Organization to be distributed to the community. Skylight Financial Planner Jeff Logan said he is “proud of the efforts made by our agents, staff and clients, and appreciates their thoughtfulness during these difficult times.” The Dublin office would also like to thank Operations Assistant Brandy Good for her efforts in organizing things while working from home due to the stay-at-home orders in Ohio during the pandemic.
Although our annual Holiday Toy Drive looked different this year, that did not stop us and our many generous community partners from trying our hardest to provide families all around Ohio with the holiday season they deserve. This year showed that there can still be kindness and generosity during a hard time for everybody. More than ever people were able to step up and provide for the community. Thank you to everyone who contributed to the cause and spread the word!