For the second year in a row, I was chosen by CEPIA and the RANDOM ACTS OF ZHU to hand out toys to a charity.  I again chose MISSION OF HOPE in Cedar Rapids because of the awesome work they do to help out the least, the last and the lost. December 21, 2011 was their Day of Giving and I was thrilled to be a part of it again this year. 

The kids were thrilled to be able to help out with this huge project.  They helped unpack all the boxes of toys and sort them out. 

Then we sorted all the toys and made them into gift packages with each set including two accessories and one ZhuZhu pet.  We tied them with ribbon and off they went. 

The hundreds of toys ready to give out at MISSION OF HOPE.  Would you believe we went through almost all of these toys????  At one point we even came very close to running out of toys for boys ages 8-12.  I stopped and prayed, asking God to help us provide toys for every child that day.  I didn’t want to tell a parent that we didn’t have any toys for their son.  Thankfully, a father and son came in and dropped off toys specifically for boys.  I was so humbled by their generosity and so grateful that God sent them in to the Mission.  Those toys got us through ’til the end!

We also handed out 225 food baskets with fruit, potatoes, veggies, rolls, pie, and chocolate.  Then a ham and milk were added to the basket as well.  After each person got a food basket, they were then allowed to chose some cold weather items like coats, blankets, hats, gloves, and scarves. 

Then the guests came to the toy area where the “elves” had toys for every age group. 

The guests were able to choose a toy for each child and then get several “stocking stuffer” items as well.

It was such a full and busy day, but so heart-warming.  So many times I was thanked over and over again for helping them provide a wonderful Christmas for their family.  So many children had gifts to open because of the generosity of others.  So many families were able to find some happiness in their Christmas with a meal, some warm clothing and toys under the tree. 

Thanks so much to CEPIA and ZHUZHU PETS for making this Christmas a little happier for so many families.  Thanks for letting me play “Santa Claus” and thanks to MISSION OF HOPE for letting me be a part of such a wonderful Day of Giving.

If you would like to learn more about Zhu Zhu Pets, check out

If you would like to learn more about Mission of Hope and all they do to serve others, check out

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