The Impact of Community: Toys for Tots Distribution in Iowa
As 2020 comes to a close, we are immensely grateful for all of our supporters, community partners, volunteers, and staff who make our work building stable homes, strong futures, and vibrant communities possible. While this year has introduced very real challenges that have threatened stability for so many folks in our communities, there have also been many examples of community resilience and strength—reminding us of the incredible impact individuals can have when they come together in support of one another.
Within our communities, residents have delivered food and groceries to their more vulnerable neighbors, and sewn and donated masks to help community members stay safe; CommonBond staff remain committed to finding ways to safely connect and providing spaces for creative expression. We’re happy to share another example demonstrating this community initiative from our neighbors in Des Moines and Waterloo, IA, where staff have recently stepped up to coordinate this year’s Toys for Tots distribution to serve CommonBond residents.
Toys for Tots is a national campaign led by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve in partnership with local non-profit agencies to collect and distribute new, unwrapped toys for families interested in the extra support during the holiday season. The campaign depends on the time, support, and generosity of local partners and communities. For the last several years, CommonBond staff at sites in Des Moines have served as community partners for this campaign; in turn, families at Bloomsbury Village, Des Moines Street Village, Stewart Townhomes, and Stewart Park Apartments in Des Moines—as well as Unity Square in Waterloo—have the option to receive extra support with holiday gifts.
This is the third year that Amal, an Advantage Service Coordinator at our communities in Des Moines, has coordinated these efforts. “The number of youth we serve through our site has grown significantly since my first year,” she says. “This year alone we have 718 youth who will be served by us thanks to this partnership with the Marine Corps.”
The event wouldn’t be possible without the efforts of staff at Capitol View Elementary School, who volunteered their building space and helped organize and host a drive-through style distribution to comply with COVID-19 safety measures. In past years, distribution of the toys occurred directly at CommonBond sites, but in the midst of the pandemic, the community centers on-site wouldn’t have been able to safely accommodate an event this large. Many thanks to their staff for helping bring the event to life!
Thank you to all of the staff, volunteers, and community partners who supported this effort, helping bring more joy into the lives of families in our communities this holiday season!