Canadian company behind 'Hatchimals' shipping thousands of toys to kids in need
Published Friday, December 22, 2017 10:00PM EST
With Christmas just around the corner, last-minute shoppers are dashing to toy stores to pick up their final stocking stuffers.
It’s one of the busiest times of the year for Toronto toy-maker Spin Master, the company behind popular gifts like Hatchimals and Air Hogs. But it’s busy for a different reason.
The company is packing up tens of thousands of toys and shipping them across the globe to children caught in the midst of wars, famine and unrest.
The “Toy Movement” is a way to bring a valuable but often overlooked element to kids in dire situations: fun.
"The whole idea was to basically take what we have in the West, which is so much, and give it to kids in hard to reach parts of the world," Ronnen Harary, the company’s co-CEO told CTV News.
Next year, the company is donating toys to the Philippines, the Middle East and Myanmar, where thousands of children are among more than 500,000 Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled from their homes in Myanmar.
Spin Master has delivered hundreds of thousands of brand-new toys to children across the world since the campaign began in 2014. Toys have been delivered to kids in South Africa, Jordan, Northern Turkey and other countries.
Gretchen Wilson-Prangley, founder and CEO of Play Africa, a non-profit group, says the importance of play in a child’s life shouldn’t be diminished, no matter where they live.
"It’s the way they learn about the world around them. It’s the way that they develop cognitively, emotionally, socially and physically,” said Wilson-Prangley.
Besides donating the toys, the company, in many cases, pays locals to wrap each gift – a gesture intended to boost income.
Harary said the campaign is about more than the toys.
"We do it for the smiles and we get back a lot more than what we give to the kids,” he said.
With a report from CTV’s Peter Akman