Hasbro's TONKA Brand and Toys for Tots Celebrate Joint 60th Anniversaries with National 'Drive for Toys' Donation Tour; Hasbro Donates $3 Million to Benefit Children in Need
PAWTUCKET, R.I., Oct 09, 2007 (BUSINESS WIRE) -- Hasbro, Inc.'s (NYSE: HAS) iconic TONKA brand and the renowned Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program will celebrate mutual 60th anniversaries in 2007. To commemorate, Hasbro is giving three million dollars in toys and games to the Toy for Tots program and the two have joined forces on a national toy donation program. The TONKA & Toys for Tots 60th Anniversary 'Drive for Toys' will travel across the country to both give and collect toys for children in need this holiday season. The program kicked off this weekend at the Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia with a tribute to the Marines and a live performance by country music star and celebrity ambassador for the program Billy Ray Cyrus. The multi-platinum singer/songwriter and star of the hit Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana," Billy Ray Cyrus recently released his debut album for Walt Disney Records, Home At Last.
Hasbro has a long history of supporting the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots. Over the past decade alone Hasbro has given over $10 million in toys and games to the program, helping almost one million children.
"TONKA and Toys for Tots will enrich the lives of so many children this holiday season," said Billy Ray Cyrus, celebrity ambassador for the TONKA & Toys for Tots 60th Anniversary Drive for Toys. "I am proud to support such an important, philanthropic program and it is an honor and a pleasure to kick it off with a tribute to the Marines who have given so much to local communities over the years."
"We have enjoyed a successful relationship with Toys for Tots for over ten years and feel they are the perfect organization to help us 'give as we go' during TONKA's national toy donation tour," said Lorrie Copeland, general manager Playskool, Hasbro. "Working with Toys for Tots' local units around the country will ensure that our efforts touch hundreds of thousands of children during this very important time of year."
"Over the past sixty years, both TONKA and Toys for Tots have created happy memories for families across the country," said Bill Grein, vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "It's only fitting that to commemorate our joint 60th anniversaries we give back to those families and help to ensure that many children in need will receive a shiny new toy this holiday season."
Departing from the Marine Corps Base Quantico in Virginia, the national 'Drive for Toys' will stop in select cities before concluding in California this December. Hasbro will work with local Toys for Tots units across the country to distribute toys and games to local children in need. The event will feature a life-size, road ready replica of the classic yellow TONKA Dump Truck. At each stop, guests will enjoy an interactive play environment - including a thirty foot TONKA Truck slide - along with a visual retrospective on TONKA and Toys for Tots over the years. Families visiting the event are encouraged to donate an unused toy which will be collected in the bed of the jumbo TONKA Dump Truck and distributed by Toys for Tots during the holiday season.
To learn more about how to participate in the TONKA & Toys for Tots 60th Anniversary 'Drive for Toys,' consumers can visit www.tonka.com.
The TONKA brand was founded on the premise that a toy should be durable and provide the child with as much play value as possible. Sixty years and 250 million trucks later, TONKA brand vehicles are still designed and manufactured to withstand the toughest play. Each year the TONKA brand uses more than 119,000 pounds of yellow paint and 5.1 million pounds of sheet metal to make its trucks and vehicles.
In 1947, the first TONKA brand toy trucks were designed and manufactured by the Mound Metalcraft Company. With a staff of just a half dozen people, Mound Metalcraft turned out a total of 37,000 metal trucks in two designs in its first year - a steam shovel and a crane.
TONKA brand trucks won immediate acceptance by post-World War II families and demand far out-stripped production, with the entire first year's inventory selling out in just a few months. In 1949, the first TONKA dump truck was introduced representing the first generation of the TONKA brand's family tree.
About Toys For Tots
Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill's wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane handcrafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign. That year, Marine Corps Reserve units across the nation conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in each community in which a Marine Reserve Center was located. Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns at Christmas each year since 1948.
Hasbro (NYSE: HAS) is a worldwide leader in children's and family leisure time entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of games and toys ranging from traditional to high-tech. Both internationally and in the U.S., its PLAYSKOOL, TONKA, MILTON BRADLEY, PARKER BROTHERS, TIGER and WIZARDS OF THE COAST brands and products provide the highest quality and most recognizable play experiences in the world.
SOURCE: Hasbro, Inc.
Litzky Public Relations
Josslynne Welch, 201-222-9118
Nadia Riley, 201-222-9118