DETROIT – Thanks to a generous contribution from Greek-American Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores, more than 10,000 toys, bicycles and tablets will be distributed to families in Detroit, Flint, and surrounding neighborhoods this holiday season, according to a news release on the team’s website. U.S. Marines and volunteers of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program hosted a special gift event for families and children in Detroit on December 14 while Voices of Children will be coordinating a similar event in Flint on December 16.
Tricycles with helmets will be gifted to all children under three. Children ages 4-7 will receive bicycles (assembled) with helmets. Youth ages 8-10 will receive drones and those ages 11-13 will receive tablets.
“All children deserve a chance to smile and feel the joy of the holidays at this special time of year,” said Gores. “We launched this effort 15 years ago to spread happiness to kids and families in Michigan during the holiday season. Inspiring kids, giving them hope and the excitement it brings is so important. We are honored to partner with these incredible organizations and support the work they are doing for young people in our communities.”
In addition to partnering with Toys for Tots in Detroit and Voices for Children in Flint, the Gores family is supporting a Downriver holiday drive by No Kids Without a Christmas in River Rouge.
Gores and his wife Holly support a number of Detroit-area causes focused on improving the quality of life for families in need and contributing to the revitalization of the region and the state. They both grew up in the area and have quietly supported holiday toy distributions across Michigan since 2006 and delivered over 135,000 gifts to families, according to a spokesperson for Mr. Gores.
The Gores family’s partnership with Toys for Tots began in 2009 and has delivered over 120,000 toys to more than 52,000 children. (Prior to aligning with Toys for Tots, Mr. Gores supported similar gift-giving programs through other organizations.) After supporting the programs as a “Secret Santa” for seven years, Mr. Gores agreed in 2013 to be identified in order to encourage others to join in with contributions of their own.
“We are very pleased to welcome Tom and Holly Gores back as major supporters of the 2021 Marine Toys for Tots Campaign,” said retired Marine Colonel Ted Silvester, vice president of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Their community service goals certainly align with those the Marine Corps has promoted for over 74 years through our Toys for Tots Program.”
Silvester concluded: “With their generous support we will be able to fulfill the Christmas holiday dreams of thousands of less fortunate children in the Southeast Michigan area, who otherwise might have been forgotten.”
Voices for Children CEO Claudnyse Hollman said the donation will brighten the holidays for children who often never feel the joy of the season.
“Each year over 500 children come to Voices at the most traumatic point in their lives. Being able to look at these kids and tell them this year they can ask for whatever they want for Christmas has brought more joy than can be put into words,” said Hollman. “This gift from Tom and Holly Gores is providing a Christmas to the county’s most hurt, but also the most resilient kids. Many have never felt the joy of Santa leaving gifts on Christmas morning, but now they have their very own Santa who gave them more than they will ever understand.”
Bridgette Bowdler, Deputy Clerk for the City of River Rouge and founder of No Kids Without A Christmas said donations from the Gores family will supply holiday gifts and winter clothing for over 400 children in their programs.
“No Kids Without A Christmas would like to thank Tom and Holly Gores for helping us provide gifts for over 400 children this year,” said Bowdler. “Funding will also help us distribute 400 coats to children and residents in our program along with another 200 to local area schools for any child in need. We thank them for bringing the holiday spirit to the City of River Rouge and showing our children the act of giving without expecting anything in return.”
Gores, a Flint native, is Owner of the Detroit Pistons and Chairman and CEO of global private equity firm Platinum Equity. He and his wife, Holly, a Detroit-area native, have for many years supported a broad range of initiatives in Michigan focused on education, mentorship, health care, economic empowerment, public safety and improving the lives of people throughout the state.In 2016, Gores launched FlintNOW, a $10 million private sector campaign to support short- and long-term relief and revitalization initiatives in response to the Flint water crisis.
Toys for Tots, a 74-year national charitable program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, provides happiness, and hope to less fortunate children during each Christmas holiday season. The toys, books, and other gifts collected and distributed by our Marines and volunteers during the Christmas season offer these children recognition, confidence, and a positive memory for a lifetime. Toys for Tots also provides support year-round to less fortunate families experiencing challenges and exceptional circumstances, thus sending a message of hope beyond the holiday season. It is such experiences that help children become responsible citizens and caring members of their community. Last year, the Marine Toys for Tots Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 7.4 million less fortunate children in over 800 communities nationwide. Since 1947, over 272 million children have been assisted. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Department of Defense to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. For more information, please visit www.toysfortots.org.
About Voices For Children
Voices for Children Advocacy Center works to intervene the alarming number of children who are victims of abuse by educating, empowering, and enlightening the community, school-aged children, and parents about prevention factors. Voices for Children leads the community in responding to victims of child abuse violence and works to break the cycle of abuse via prevention, and intervention programming, as well as community education. Voices for Children is dedicated to building healthy relationships and provides a continuum of services for persons of all ages who have been, or are at risk of being, victims of child abuse or neglect. Our agency’s model is grounded in a strengths-based, empowerment philosophy and incorporates best practices and evidence-based strategies. Services are completely free to the family. Voices for Children Advocacy Center creates a vital link between community services and victims of child abuse.
About No Kids Without A Christmas
No Kids Without A Christmas was started by Bridgett Bowlder in the River Rouge area of Detroit supporting youth with holiday gifts as well as coats, hats and gloves during the winter months. The charity has grown during each year of its existence and will support over 400 youth this holiday season. For more information – visit https://www.facebook.com/nokidswithoutachristmas/.