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Volunteering With Santa's Exchange & Toys For Tots

Santa’s Exchange Background

Santa’s Exchange started over 20 years as one women’s attempt to deal with her grief the first Christmas after she lost her son, and has grown into a community-wide project that provides toys to over 5000 children in Ft Bend County. Carolina Tarver’s son was killed in a fear accident, and as she struggled that first Christmas season, she came up with the idea to take toys to children in a nearby struggling neighborhood. She delivered toys to almost 30 families that year.

As the project grew, Carolina began serving more families, and after a few years was approached by the Exchange Club of Sugar Land. They named the project Santa’s Exchange, and in their first year together served over 500 families. For the first few years, volunteers would deliver toys to homes, but often it was challenging as other children and families in the neighborhood would see the deliveries and wonder how to get toys for their families. Parents also struggled a bit with the idea that they were unable to pick out toys for their children.

Children's toys in white plastic bags in back of truck

Growing the Project

With that, Santa’s Exchange grew again. The project partnered with Sugar Land Rotary
and the Exchange Club of Ft. Bend and began setting up a shopping day, using new toys donated through community-wide toys drives. Parents were able to come and walk through andCollege Hunks truck backed up to entrance of brick building choose gifts for their children.

Over the last few years, Toys for Tots has joined the project, and now the one-day shopping event serves over 4000 children, using over 300 volunteers, partnering with FBISD, many local businesses and community members. Any leftover toys are used to support local churches and organizations, bringing the total children served in Ft. Bend County to over 5000. This year’s event took place on December 17th.

How We’re Involved

Every day this past week, our Southwest Houston franchise delivered toys to the center. They also volunteered their trucks and hunks to transport the toys.

This blog post is courtesy of Ashley Shahan, franchise owner of College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving Southwest Houston.