We here at Welch don’t look at service like as obligation. We consider it an opportunity to help those around us. One of the opportunities we have faithfully served for nearly 20 years is the Toys for Tots Foundation.
The Toys for Tots Foundation just wrapped up its 70th year and while Toys for Tots has not released its official numbers, it’s estimated that 2017 will be one for the record books.
The Toys for Tots Foundation has grown from a single man collecting toys and donating them locally to nearly 800 local campaigns in 2016. These local campaigns took place in every corner of the nation. Each state, including Alaska and Hawaii, held local campaigns as well as Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
2016 saw the Toys for Tots Foundation’s support and revenue grow $11 million over the 2015 campaign. This growth allowed the Foundation to increase the toy distribution program 5% from 2015 to 2016. If that rate of growth continued into the 2017 campaign, the Toys for Tots Foundation will have donated over $277 million in toys for the year!
Collecting an estimated $277 million in toys is no easy feat. While we do our best to collect as many toys as possible in each of our facilities, our real strength comes from making the collection bins. These collection bins allow thousands of other businesses to collect toys to contribute to the foundation. This year alone we produced and distributed over 113,000 collection bins or roughly enough bins to fill over 6,500 pallets stacked six feet tall!
This year also marks a couple of milestones for Welch Packaging. Thanks to our new, state of the art corrugator, we could produce the bins 100% in house. Roll stock came in and was transformed into board which then went out to our conversion plants. From there it was loaded onto our trucks which then made their way to locations and shipping hubs across the country. Start to finish, if you donated a toy, chances are the bin was made by our associates in Elkhart, IN.
The second milestone is the invention of our own board grades. One factor in our corrugator investment was gaining the ability to create our own board grades. This year’s Toys for Tots collection bins were manufactured using one of our first Welch board grades, WP242. WP242 is a cost effective solution to a traditional B/C double wall while still maintaining all the structural characteristics that the Toys for Tots Foundation and our customers have grown to expect.
We love working with the fine folks over at the Toys for Tots Foundation on their annual toy drive. That said, we would be remiss if we did not take this opportunity to raise awareness for their wonderful literacy program. The UPS Store has teamed up with the Foundation in an effort to provide books and support to local literacy programs across the nation in an effort to break the cycle of poverty.
We wish to take this time to thank the many Welch Packaging associates who have donated toys and worked to make these collection bins a reality. We also wish to thank all those who donated time or toys to make 2017 a year for the record books. Finally, this program would not be possible with all those associated with the Toys for Tots Foundation. Without your time and services, hundreds of thousands of kids across the nation would have a little less cheer each Christmas season.