Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Hasbro Gifts of Play Grant

A special Thank You to Hasbro and their Gifts of Play grant, a part of their community relations division. The BRO received 91 assorted toys, as shown in the photos in this blog post. The toys are in the process of being sent out into the St. Louis Community.
Here is an excerpt from a thank you note received from SSDN ( South Side Day Nursery). I love how they describe "play".
"As play is the "work of children", their method for exploring and learning about the world, it is wonderful to be able to provide children with new toys during the holidays. These gifts are truly a dose of positive self-worth for low-income children who may otherwise have to settle for hand me downs.....In effect your gifts will supplement Learning Center educational instruction by developing child creativity during hours of imaginative play at home"
I packed one of these Jeng games along with some other goodies, for a 7 year old living in a homeless shelter, I'm thinking his 4 year old brother will enjoy playing with it, too.
And some of these Yahtzee games will show up at the Winterwonderland Festival given by the 22nd Circuit Cout of St. Louis for their foster families.

These funky little Mr. Potato Head plushies will find their way into newborn care kits. Each will contain, a plush toy, a sampler pack of baby washes, lotions, shampoos, a rattle or other infant toy, and a receiving blanket.

The 4 & 5 year olds will enjoy these cool Transformers

Infants and toddlers will learn about shapes and sorting with this cheery item,

What little girl doesn't like my Little Pony, and this set has two ponies!

Thanks Hasbro for helping us to provide St. Louis area families in need with a happier, brighter Christmas and Holidays.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


Check out the gifts our 7 - 10 year olds will be receiving this year. We received 3,000 of these gems, 1500 of each title. Each child will receive one of each title. These fabulous books were a gift from First Book, What a great organization. Our only cost was the UHaul truck rental for two days and the drive from St. Louis, to Granite City, Illinois and back.

We started out thinking we could get these books into the back of a full size pickup truck and an SUV. What a silly idea. We arrived at the Coast Guard Auxillary warehouse and found 6 pallets of books. We were able to get two pallets into the truck and SUV. So, we drove them to Oak Hill Presbyterian Church back in St. Louis and unloaded the SUV, drove to the local Uhaul, rented a truck and headed back to Granite City. The First Book volunteers were great, they loaded the rest of the books with a fork lift and we headed back out. The decision was made to wait until the next day to unload the UHAUL when we would have more volunteers available. The only problem, I parked the UHAUL in my driveway at home, and the neighbors all thought we were moving. " NO just storing 2,000 books in my drive way over night, no need to panic".

Finally all the books were unloaded and they have been packaged together two in a pack, the girls get an extra treat in their bags and the boys will receive a basketball or football. We know that's sexist, but space availablity does not lend itself to allowing a large display for families to choose from a large selection of toys. We will be serving about 3,000 kids ages newborn - 10 years.

Each book retails for $14.99. The total cost of this project to BRO, a little volunteer time and effort and $175 for truck rental and gas. The look on the faces of kids and parents on Christmas morning, we hope is priceless.

Official countdown to toy distribution ....... 6 days!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Old Newsboys Day

Look for the "Old Newsboys" out on the corner, bright and early, Thursday, November 20, 2008. The Old Newsboys Day Charities organization was established in 1957 by Duncan Bauman of the St. Louis Globe Democrat. The Globe is no longer in business, but Old Newsboys Day still lives on, sponsored by the Suburban Journals of Greater St. Louis. Volunteers from all over the city brave the elements and sell a special edition of the paper. The proceeds benefit children's charities in the St. Louis area.

BRO has been one of the recepients for many years. We hope to be included again, in 2009. We received $1,500 last year, which was used to purchase items for the layettes we provided for 500 moms and newborns in need and toys for the 3,000 plus children we serve during the holidays.

Volunteers from BRO will be among the brave souls standing on the corner on Thursday morning. Hope you'll be generous with the volunteers you pass by on your way to work, school and play. ( Unlike the photo above, we'll be wearing shoes, gloves, hats, scarves and heavy coats. Thursday morning lows are suppose to be 19 degrees!)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Herbert & Adrian Woods Foundation Grant

A very special "Thank YOU" to The Herbert A. and Adrian W. Woods Foundation, for their very generous gift of $10,000. While the Woods Foundation does not have a website it is fascinating to see all of the wonderful organizations supported by them in the Saint Louis area and beyond.

We intend to use a large portion to purchase culturally sensitive toys and books. Shirley, our retired librarian volunteer, is excited about checking out new books that feature African-American children. We will also purchase African -American dolls and other toys and games that are culturally sensitive.

We also intend to use it toward improvements in our work and storage space. We need some soundproofing between our work space in the basement of the lower level of the Presbytery of Giddings-Lovejoy and the Presbytery's meeting and conference spaces on the first level. We are hoping that the labor can be donated by mission groups from the various denominations in our community.(Renovations to the building occurred several years ago, and asbestos removal was much more expensive than anticipated and the budget did not allow for the finish work to be completed in the lower level.) We are also going to contribute towards replacing insulation and a ceiling in our third floor storage area that we share with the Partners For Just Trade.

Needless to say we are excited by the possibilities that are opened to us with this generous grant. In these troubling economic times it is especially generous and welcome.