Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Toys for Tots Launches Year-Round Literacy Initiative with The UPS Store, Mail Boxes Etc.

QUANTICO, Va. — After 60 years of delivering holiday joy to millions of disadvantaged children, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation today announced its first year-round initiative, the Toys for Tots Literacy Program.

The new initiative will offer economically disadvantaged children the ability to compete academically and to succeed in life by providing direct access to books and educational resources that will enhance their ability to read and to communicate effectively.

"The mission of Toys for Tots has always been to deliver a message of hope and inspiration to needy children through the power of a gift. One of the keys to unlocking the door to a brighter and more prosperous future for these children is a good education," said Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, USMC (ret), president and CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "With the Toys for Tots Literacy Program, we will be able to extend our reach and impact in a very meaningful way by giving the gift of reading to those who need it most."

The national network of The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees will serve as exclusive sponsors of the initiative.

Throughout March, participating The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations will collect $1 donations for its Buck a Book program through which every dollar donated will place a book into the hands of a economically disadvantaged child in that local community. Stores will continue additional fundraising activities throughout the year. To kick-off the program, MBE, franchisor of The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. brands, is donating $125,000, which will distribute 125,000 books to children in need.

To help support this initiative, Scholastic, the world's largest publisher and distributor of children's books, will offer a selection of children's titles to the Toys for Tots Literacy Program at a special, discounted non-profit rate. As a long-standing partner of Toys for Tots, Scholastic will help the Toys for Tots Literacy Program select age-appropriate books that will not only teach a child how to read but instill a passion for learning.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a not-for-profit public charity, is the authorized fund-raising and support organization for the 60-year-old Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation provides the funding and support needed for successful annual toy collection and distribution campaigns. The foundation is located at Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia. Local Marine Corps Reserve units and volunteer organizations collect and distribute toys in more than 600 communities covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.

The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. retail locations are franchised by Mail Boxes Etc., Inc., a UPS subsidiary. Together The UPS Store and Mail Boxes Etc. locations comprise the world's largest franchise network of retail shipping, postal and business service centers, with more than 5,900 locations around the world.

Mail Boxes Etc. franchisees have raised more than $1.3 million since signing on as a Toys for Tots national sponsor in 2005. Now, franchisees are lending their support to the literacy program, which will help economically disadvantaged children throughout the U. S. gain access to books.

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