Nonprofit provides holiday cheer with 'pop your trunk' toy drive

Nov 14, 2020

For thousands of families across Southeast Massachusetts, it’s going to be a joyous holiday season thanks to the help of dozens of volunteers and workers from local nonprofit My Brother’s Keeper.

To support its annual Christmas Assistance Program for local families, the Christian nonprofit hosted a “pop your trunk” toy drive at its Reed Road warehouse on Nov. 14.

Josh Smith, the director of the Dartmouth facility, said this year is especially important because so many in the area are out of work due to the pandemic and economic downturn.

“There’s definitely been an increase in requests this year,” he added. “So many families provided us with lists.”

Last December, My Brother’s Keeper delivered gifts to 3,200 families, supporting more than 13,000 children and adults, Smith said. 

Throughout the morning, cars streamed through and popped their trunks, often filled with high-demand items like Toy Story figures, Legos, LOL Surprise dolls, and yoga mats.

“It was really fun getting stuff for people of all ages,” Bristol resident Jennifer Barry said. 

The Rhode Islander noted that she is normally against doing Christmas shopping before Thanksgiving, but because of a pledge from Framingham-based Corey C. Griffin Foundation, she was “more than willing to break that rule.” 

“Sure, I got it done early, but it was to help out families who need it,” she said. “Hopefully this can make some Christmas mornings better than they would be otherwise.” 

The Corey C. Griffin Foundation — which partners with nonprofits to serve underprivileged youth and people with medical challenges — pledged $10 to My Brother’s Keeper for every item donated, up to $10,000.

According to Smith, nearly 50 cars stopped through with an average of 20 to 30 toys in their trunks, filling up nearly all of the large boxes placed outside the facility.

“I think we’ve definitely hit our donation match,” he said with a smile.

Ben Williams, who organizes the deliveries, said drop offs will operate a bit differently from other years, noting that instead of going inside homes, bags will be placed by the front door to minimize contact. 

While there is less physical interaction with the families, Williams said he thinks it will help add more of a surprise for the kids on Christmas day.

“We try to be as discreet as possible, but a lot of times the kids still know,” he said. “This time, it should be a little less obvious than strangers walking into a house with a big bag.”

While “pop your trunk” might be over, the nonprofit will still accept donations. Those wishing to support the Christmas effort can also purchase high-need items through the Adopt a Family program or the organization’s Amazon Wish List.

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