Local Foster Children Receive Thousands of New Toys from Toy Industry Foundation with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Logo

KANSAS CITY, MO, July 21, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Kansas City, MO | July 21, 2014 – More than 500 Kansas City-area foster children were gifted with brand new toys and games on Saturday, July 19th, during a fun-filled event hosted by the Toy Industry Foundation to benefit the National CASA Association, Jackson County CASA and CASA of Johnson & Wyandotte Counties. An additional 4,500 children in Greater Kansas City will receive new playthings on special occasions and holidays throughout the year thanks to a generous donation from the Toy Industry Foundation.

Kids living at the Niles Home for Children and nearby foster homes enjoyed face-painting, a photo booth, balloon artists, carnival games and other fun activities, before they each picked out a brand new plaything to keep, choosing from an assortment of educational toys, bubble blowers, scooters, puzzles, dolls, and other items that were donated by big-hearted toy manufacturers and retailers to The Toy Bank, the Toy Industry Foundation's signature giving program.

"The resilient children living in foster care face such grown-up problems at a very young age. It is our hope that the toys and games will give them a reason to smile … and will show them that there are many people out there who care about them," said Jean Butler, Executive Director of the Toy Industry Foundation. "We are grateful to our generous toy industry donors who continue to make important events like this one possible."

"We applaud the Toy Industry Foundation for recognizing the many struggles faced by children living in foster care and for lending their support to help improve these children's lives," said National CASA Association CEO Michael Piraino.

"Children in foster care are taken in with only the clothes on their backs. They get attached to things that are then taken from them," said Sarah Mille, mother of two children and foster parent of two. "When [our foster kids] came to us, they had nothing. These toys are theirs... Not hand-me-downs."

Added Amany, age 7: "Me and my sister both picked dolls so we can play them together. This is the best day ever!"

The event was held as part of the joint TIF / CASA national partnership, which was launched early last year to provide hope and toys to children living in foster care. The initiative has to date distributed 120,000 toys to foster children nationwide. TIF has also provided CASA with a total of $400,000 in grant-funding to train and increase the number of court-appointed volunteers who provide one-on-one advocacy and support for children waiting to be placed in loving, permanent homes.

Gifts distributed at this event were generously donated to TIF's Toy Bank by Allied Products, Fat Brain Toys, Funrise Toy Corporation, GeoCentral, Hasbro, Highlights for Children, Learning Resources, Masterpieces Puzzle Company, Mattel, Radio Flyer, and Walmart.

ABOUT TOY INDUSTRY FOUNDATION (www.toyindustryfoundation.org)

The Toy Industry Foundation (TIF) is a non-profit organization whose mission it is to bring joy, comfort, and learning to children in need through play. The Foundation currently fulfills its mission through core programs including The Toy Bank™ and grants to organizations whose missions are in line with that of the Toy Industry Foundation. The first industry-wide program of its kind, The Toy Bank receives donations of newly manufactured toys from members of the toy industry and distributes them through local charities to underserved, at-risk and homeless children throughout the United States and around the world.

ABOUT NATIONAL CASA (www.casaforchildren.org)

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for Children is a network of 951 community-based programs that recruit, train and support citizen-volunteers to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in courtrooms and communities. The only program of its kind, CASA volunteers are empowered by the courts to provide children with one-on-one advocacy. CASA volunteers see their assigned children regularly and interview all the adults who impact their lives. Across the country, 77,000 volunteer advocates offer judges the critical information they need to ensure each child's rights and needs are being attended to while in foster care, staying with the child until she is placed in a loving permanent home. For many abused children, their CASA volunteer is the only constant adult presence in their lives.


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CONTACT:Adrienne Appell, Toy Industry Association, 646-520-4863; aapell@toyassociation.org OR Chris Guizlo, National CASA Association, 206-343-1543; guizlo@feareygroup.com

Source: Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA)