shutterstock_661961716.jpgSanta is alive and well!  I saw him on my way in to work today (true story) — he apparently is hanging out in Western Massachusetts. He wore a red t-shirt and sported a neatly-trimmed beard while driving a little red compact car.  I found it very fitting and coincidental that today of all days, a hot day in July, I saw Santa.  The same day I needed to turn in this article.   Santa personifies what ASTRA’s new philanthropic program TOYS FOR JOY is all about.  It’s about magic — in this case, the magic of play.  It’s about giving toys and games to children in need.  It’s about making an impact with a small gesture that can leave a lifelong impression.

The idea for Toys for Joy started this past March, sparked by an article by James Zahn of The Rock Father Magazine.  The article touched on the continuing fallout of the Toys R Us closing and mentioned the loss of donations to numerous charities.

My friend Brian Turtle of Endless Games and I talked about this article and decided to do something to help the kids who would be hurt by the donation gap.  We planned to pull together a group of specialty toy manufacturers that we know and donate toys and games to one of the affected charities.  The thought was individually our donations would make a ripple; however, if a group of us all worked together, we could create a wave.

With a little effort we found a contact at Good360. Within a blink of our eyes, Good360, an organization with a network of over 60,000 nonprofit members, was pulling together a program beyond the scope of what Brian and I could do alone.  We definitely met the right people! The idea was then presented to ASTRA, and once again, within a blink of our eyes, ASTRA was on board and connecting with Good360 and the scope of the program grew again.

On behalf of Brian and myself, I humbly ask for your support and donation to this program. You can sign up here.  We believe, as many of you do, that play is crucial to the healthy development of children.  ASTRA’s motto MIGHTY TOGETHER is very apropos for this campaign. One company is never going to be able to match the lost donations but many companies together, sending what they can, will make a tremendous impact and will bring joy to the lives of many children.

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Tami Murphy is the Director, Business Development Services at Grand Prix International and serves on the ASTRA Board of Directors. Prior to that she was the National Sales Manager of The Haywire Group. She volunteers her time to a local non-profit organization that The Haywire Group supports that provides services to foster children that the state doesn’t fund. In 2016, Tami was nominated for a Women In Toys’ Wonder Woman award. In her free time, Tami enjoys reading and spending time with her kids.