This is a sponsored post is brought to you by AT&T’s Use It For Good campaign.
When I was a kids one of my strongest memories from the holiday season was my grandparents volunteering their time at Toys for Tots. It was a very important cause for them and something they did every year. When I became a mom, I set a goal to teach Kora & Logan the importance of giving back. That’s why two years ago I decided to sign us all up to be volunteers to sort toys for Toys for Tots.
It was an amazing experience and one the kids continue to talk about ever since. I made sure to take lots of pictures and I shared on social media in hopes that others would be inspired to volunteer as well or give back in their own way.
Here’s a look back at our experience. When we arrived in the parking lot we were stopped to check out a giant truck ready to be filled with the sorted donations.
We made our way into the warehouse where we met some of the friendliest people. They welcomed us warmly.
As we walked into the warehouse, we were amazed at how large it was and how many toys and boxes there were.
There were a number of marines moving big heavy boxes and taking toys out of plastic bags. It was nice to see them doing it all with smiles that felt full of holiday cheer. After we filled out our paperwork and received our instructions, we started sorting.
The boxes were all labeled by gender and age and we were to take toys from the unsorted piles and place them into the age appropriate boxes.
I was very proud of Kora and Logan. Not once did they say, “I want that!” instead they understood that the toys were for needy children. They sorted the toys happily and were excited to be helping out other kids.
Even though it seemed like there were lots of toys – we were surprised to learn that each child would only receive one toy. If there is enough to go around again, there was a box labeled, “2nd toy” which would be a pack of playing cards or a cute brush and comb set. Smaller items.
It was tough to stand in that giant warehouse surrounded by all those toys and realize that each child would only get one. Even now it makes me tear up a little thinking about it.
Every year there is a great need for donating to Toys for Tots and you can look up drop off locations on your phone by looking up the Toys For Tots Foundation on your mobile web browser.
As a family, we have great memories of our time volunteering to sort toys for Toys for Tots. Last year we moved from Ohio to Michigan during the holidays so I wasn’t able to get us signed up in time to do it again, but this year I’ve already filled out our application and am waiting to hear back. This volunteering experience meant a lot to Kora & Logan and they said the other day they were hoping to be able to do it again this year.
In this day and age, we all have our mobile devices with us at all times. It presents the perfect opportunity to use them for good. I used my phone to take a lot of photos of our time sorting toys for Toys for Tots and shared them, hoping the experience would inspire others.
There are many ways to use your phone for good here are a few ideas:
- When volunteering take photos & videos and share on social media to inspire others
- Run or walk a 5K and share photos & videos – most runs/walks raise money and awareness for charitable causes
- Text in donations – when there is a disaster there is often a shortcode and keyword that you can text to make a donation
- Share hashtags on social media – there are companies that will make donations every time a hashtag is used
As a tech blogger, I’ve read a lot about the isolating effects of smartphones but there as you can see there are many ways we can use our phones to connect us with others and to help those in need.
That’s why I’m excited about AT&T’s #UseIt4Good campaign. Each week throughout the month of November, AT&T will highlight stories that will show how we can all #UseIt4Good, including organizations that are focused on giving back via technology.
Each week will have a theme, they are:
- Week of November 2nd – Community
- Week of November 9th – Military
- Week of November 16th – Education
You can learn more here:
- On social media follow the hashtag: #UseIt4Good
- Social Channels: @ATTSmallBiz, @ATT, Facebook.com/ATT
- Visit the AT&T #UseIt4Good Newsroom
How you can get involved:
- Identify and share inspiring stories of people who “use it for good” to effect change in ways that resonate with AT&T values
- Create fun, shareable stories to make everyday “using it for good” accessible
- Celebrate stories of device-related volunteering/service
- Encourage people to commit to #UseIt4Good in their own lives and provide opportunities to make it easy