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The Toy Bank Kicks-Off Its First Summer Toy Drive Giving 'Millions of Toys to Millions of Kids'; Ty Inc. Donates Three Million Teenie Beanie Boppers to Children in Need.

NEW YORK -- To ensure the summer months are filled with fun for disadvantaged children in North America, The Toy Bank(TM) kicks off the warm weather season with its first-ever Summer Toy Drive. The first donation is slated to take place in Chicago on July 28, 2004 at 10am at the New City YMCA located at 1515 N. Halstead.

Children at the New City YMCA will receive their very own new toy, and Chicago's Commissioner of Human Services, Carmelo Vargas, will accept a donation on behalf of the City of Chicago. The Toy Bank will bring the thrill of toys and play to homeless and disadvantaged children throughout Metropolitan Chicago.

The Toy Bank is a joint effort of the Toy Industry Foundation, the philanthropic organization representing the North American toy industry, and Gifts In Kind International, the world's leading charity in product philanthropy.

"Every child in this country and around the world deserves the right to imagine, dream, invent and have fun through toys," said Neil Friedman, chairman of the Toy Industry Foundation and president of Fisher Price Brands. "Through The Toy Bank, we are making certain that no child is denied the magic of play."

The toy industry's overwhelming and ongoing response is paramount in achieving a major goal of The Toy Bank program - to fulfill the wishes of homeless, disadvantaged and at-risk girls and boys by providing them with their very own new toy. Leading the charge is Ty Inc., creator of the popular Beanie Babies(R) line, with a donation of three million toys set for delivery to boys and girls throughout North America this summer season.

In addition to Chicago area-based Ty, many companies, ranging from leading manufacturers to smaller independent specialty manufacturers, are participating in The Toy Bank's Summer 2004 Toy Drive, donating toys and games valued at more than $14 million. Participating companies in the 2004 Toy Drive include: Ace Toy Box, Adventure Publishing Group, Alex, Brio Corporation, Bulls-Eye, Inc., Delrichey Corporation dba The Construction Site, Funrise Toy Corporation, Fun with Languages Company, Hasbro Inc., Infantino, Inc., Integrated Global Solutions, International Playthings, Inc., LeapFrog, The Little Tikes Company, Mega Bloks, Newtons Mind, Inc., Playmobil USA, Inc., Radio Flyer, Schoenhut Piano Company, Inc., Spin Master Limited, Ty Inc., and What Kids Want Inc. donated toys; Yellow Freight donated transportation costs to Chicago.

Donations will be distributed to communities throughout July and August via Gifts In Kind and its broad network of more than 200,000 charities around the world.

Play is the fundamental right of every child. The Toy Bank, introduced in 2003, serves underprivileged and at-risk children so they can experience the benefits of play. For those interested in learning more about The Toy Bank's year-round activities visit: www.thetoybank.org.

About the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago

The New City YMCA, located at 1515 North Halsted in Chicago, is a member of the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago, which is an association comprised of 35 city and suburban Centers and more than 100 extension sites throughout the Chicagoland area. The YMCA touches and strengthens the lives of hundreds of thousands of people each year. Each YMCA provides valuable programs and services to the diverse neighborhoods of Chicago and its surrounding suburbs.

About the Toy Industry Foundation

In 2000, the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF(TM)) refocused its philanthropic efforts, recognizing its unique position to galvanize and leverage industry resources to make a difference in the lives of children in need. After further review, the TIF Board committed to support children who are homeless throughout America. By contributing its funds to programs such as The Toy Bank and The Power of Play, the industry is working to achieve its mission to bring joy, happiness and comfort to children in need through the experience of toys and play. For more information about the TIF, visit: www.toyindustryfoundation.org.

About Gifts In Kind International

Gifts In Kind International is the world's leading charity in product philanthropy and the third largest charity in the United States. Today's top manufacturers and retailers, including 44 percent of the Fortune 500 companies, rely on Gifts In Kind to design and manage the donation process. Ranked as one of the most cost-efficient charities in the world, Gifts In Kind International operates at less than 1 percent of the value of products, goods and services contributed annually. In 2003 alone, Gifts In Kind and its 450-plus global affiliates distributed nearly $800 million in quality products to a network of more than 200,000 charitable nonprofits around the world. For more information about Gifts In Kind International, visit: www.giftsinkind.org.
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Publication:Business Wire
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 27, 2004
Words:765
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