Thinking Outside the Gift Box

This holiday season, you can buy your kids yet another toy to add to the ever-growing heap in the corner of your family room or you can pay it forward. Allow your kids to experience the joy of giving back to their community and assisting those in need. There’s no greater gift than making someone’s day a little brighter!

For your musician

Rock Christmas this year with lessons at Toledo’s Forte Music School. Whether your son or daughter has an interest in guitar, cello or any instrument in between, Forte Music School offers more instructors, more studios and more opportunities for your young musician to learn. With a wide variety of gift certificates available, you’re sure to find whatever meets your needs…and your budget.

Adopt A Family: Make a Struggling Family’s Season Merry

Organized by the University of Toledo and the Salvation Army, the “Adopt-a-Family” program is a great way to give back and spread cheer by sponsoring a family in need. Provide your “adopted” family with gifts and food items, a great opportunity to show your kids the importance of community.

To participate in the program visit:
Cost: Minimum of 3-4 brand new gifts per child & a gift card to a local grocery store (you can choose the size of the family you’d like to sponsor).



Toys for Tots: Donate a Gift to a Grateful Child

Give a toy and bring joy to a local child in need of help. Make it a family affair and go shopping with your kiddos to pick out a toy for a child between the ages of 6 months and 12 years old. Simply bring the new toy, unwrapped, to one of this year’s designated Marine Toys for Tots Foundation drop-off locations, and feel instant gift-giving gratification.

For up-to-date Lucas County drop-off sites, visit:
Cost: The price of a toy (or toys).


Adopt a Soldier: Show Gratitude to Our Troops

Adopt a US Soldier is a program that aims to boost the morale of our troops, who are often far from family and loved ones during the holidays. Families may volunteer to send a one-time letter and care-package or commit to sending weekly letters to a soldier for 6-12 months (you must be 18 to sign up, so make it a family affair). Provide support and encouragement to an active military member, one letter at a time!

Get Started here:
Cost: Minimal, just the cost of postage.


Mobile Meals of Toledo: Volunteer or Donate
to Serve

Teach your kids to make a meaningful difference in their neighbor’s lives by contributing to Mobile Meals. Volunteer to deliver your time (about two hours per month using your own vehicle) to deliver meals to those in need within the community, and bring the kids along! Or, make a one-time financial donation in your child’s honor to help them experience the magical gift of giving.

For more information:
Cost: Free to volunteer, or make a donation in the amount of your choice.


The Toledo Zoo: Adopt a ZooPal Animal

Become an animal “owner”, without the work. Contributions are needed to help feed and care for all the zoo’s animals, including the baby elephant, giraffe, and brand new tiger cubs — what a great holiday gift for your kids! Individuals or families can choose from a wide range of animals to sponsor at a donation amount that fits their budget.

Find more details here:
Cost: $45 and up


Toledo Area Humane Society: Cuddle a
Furry Friend

If you’re able to foster or adopt an animal in need, amazing! But, if fostering isn’t feasible, there are many ways to help the animals in your community. The Toledo Area Humane Society is looking for people to walk dogs, cuddle with kittens, and more. Volunteers must attend a two-hour orientation and be 10 years of age or older. Unable to volunteer? Monetary donations are always appreciated.
Check it out:
Cost: Free or Donation

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