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helping others

Helping Hand for the Holidays #FilltheTruck

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 12, 2013 · 0 comments

We look forward to a lot of family activities during the holidays, but I think I can safely say that the one that we all look forward to the most is our annual trip to Walmart to help fill their donations box up with toys for the needy. Just for fun, you can check out our trips from 2010 and 2012 -- can't believe how much my kiddos have grown!

I know this is a tough year for many of you, and we've had our share of tough times and holiday seasons where we were penny-pinching to the extreme, too. Somehow we've always managed to minimize the effect on our kids, while still blessing others with any little bit we had left over, and I'm grateful for that. The past few years have been good to us though, which means we've had more room in our budget for giving, and this year has been no exception.

Tuesday evening, after picking our first real Christmas tree ever at a local greenhouse, we decided to swing by Walmart to let the kids do a little shopping. Earlier this month Walmart had given me a $100 gift card to spend as I pleased, but the kids were super surprised and excited when I shared with them that we were going to match the gift card as a family, giving them each $40 to spend on the gifts of their choice for the less fortunate children in our area.

So my girls and I hit the "girly" aisles, and my husband took the boys to shop the more rough and tumble boys' aisles. After a lot of calculations and discussion, we all met up back in the holiday department with our choices to snap a quick photo. I think they did a fantastic job of picking out a variety of really nice toys, and while we discovered that someone *may* have miscalculated their purchase at checkout, I was more than happy to pick up the difference.

After checking out, the kids unloaded the cart into the Helping Hand Toy Box near the entrance of our store. This donation box is earmarked for the local Helping Hand Toy Drive, sponsored by Walmart, The Columbus Dispatch, The Salvation Army, 92.3 WCOL, and WBNS-10-TV.

Other stores across the U.S. are participating in the Fill The Truck promotion, so you may see a big red box in the front of your store. Whatever program your store is participating in, it's a great way to give a little something extra to charity while you're doing your regular shopping!

Walmart Moms Disclosure

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A Helping Hand for the Holidays

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 21, 2012 · 5 comments


Our family has been through some tough times over the years. As a union pipefitter, my husband hasn't had a lot of job security, and we went through a span of several layoffs in a short period of time that really took a toll on our finances. But even when we struggled the most, our kids never went without. Though times we lean, we still managed to give them a modest Christmas, while sharing what we could with others.

Now that our financial situation is considerably brighter, it might be easy to forget those dark days, but it only takes a quick glance at recent headlines to see that there are so many others that are still struggling mightily. And though my own kids may not remember what it was like when we were struggling, I do want to instill a giving spirit in them.

So as we have in recent years, we headed to Walmart to pick up some toys to donate to those less fortunate. I gave each of my five kids a $20 budget and let them choose what they wanted to donate. Most of them chose to spend the entire amount on one really nice toy, but my 9-year-old decided to purchase two $10 toys so he could help out two children.

It was such a joy to see them all browsing the toy aisles, thoughtfully selecting which toy they wanted to give!

The nice thing about shopping for donations at Walmart is that they have bins at the front of the store specifically for this purpose, allowing you to do your purchasing and donating all in one trip.

Our local store's donation box is earmarked for the Helping Hand Toy Drive, sponsored by Walmart, The Columbus Dispatch, The Salvation Army, 92.3 WCOL, and WBNS-10-TV. I was overjoyed to see that the box was already overflowing with donations!

My kids carefully placed their donations in the box, along with the others. I'll admit I was a little worried that my younger children might be a little resistant to parting with the toys they selected, but even my 4-year-old cheerfully added the car hauler set he chose to the pile.

I noticed on The Salvation Army website that it looks like the boxes may have been removed from stores on the 14th, but if you'd still like to make a donation, you can make a monetary donation via Paypal on the Salvation Army website. If you're tight on funds this holiday season, you might consider volunteering instead!

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Disclosure: I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation for the time and effort spent creating this post. However, my participation in this program is voluntary and my opinions are my own -- always have been, always will be.

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Last Minute Walmart Top Toys Shopping Trip

by Tara Kuczykowski on December 22, 2010 · 4 comments


After one too many days of being cooped up inside as the flu made its rounds through our family, we ventured out last night to Walmart to check out their selection of top toys. I'll admit that I didn't have very high hopes for finding much of anything left, but I was pleasantly surprised to find a great selection still available.

Walmart gave us a $100 gift card to check out the toy department, but seriously the last thing we need right now is more toys in our already crowded house. So I gave the kids carte blanche to spend all $100 -- with the knowledge that we would be donating everything we purchased to the Franklin County toy drive.

They had a blast picking out a variety of toys, including many of those listed on Walmart's Top Toys List, and they really got a lot for their money:

Our final total came to $107.34 -- most of the overage being tax, which I was happy to cover. We dropped all of the toys off in the donation box conveniently located inside Walmart on our way out the door. Thanks, Walmart, for helping us make Christmas a little merrier for some deserving children!

I am a participant in the Walmart Moms program. Walmart has provided me with compensation to write about the Top Toys. Participation in this program is voluntary. All opinions are always my own.

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