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Homeschooling and Toys for Tots?

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 

I wasn't sure where to post this.


Does anyone have experience with requesting holiday assistance through an organization, such as Marine Toys for Tots, while being a homeschooler?  A friend of mine has homeschooled their children their whole lives.  Her family wasn't flush financially, but they were getting by.  Over the summer, her husband lost his job.  He has been doing odd jobs while looking for permanent employment, but hasn't been able to find anything.  Our county has a really high employment rate.  After looking at his lack of options, he decided to enlist in the National Guard.  He was supposed to leave after Christmas, but now he may be leaving before Thanksgiving.  The kids aren't going to have him home for the holidays, and I didn't want them to go without gifts as well. I contacted our local Toys for Tots coordinator, to see if I could get the kids some toys for the holidays. I was told that I need to contact the school the children attend, as toys are distributed through the schools here, and that if their school was not participating, that I should e-mail the coordinator back, and she could refer me to a program outside of the schools.  So I e-mailed back that their school was not participating (as homeschools are private schools in my state, and this is true) and I asked for the information for the program that was being run outside of the schools.  I was told that my friend's information had been forwarded on to the program coordinator. And now it is 2 weeks later, and my friend hasn't heard from them. My friend does not have computer access, so I followed up with the coordinator today, and got an e-mail back that said, "What school do the children attend???"  I am hesitant to e-mail the coordinator back, because I don't want my friend to have any problems. Am I being silly?  Should I just e-mail back that they are homeschoolers? What would you do?

post #2 of 9

Yes, reply in your email that your friends homeschool  Better yet, phone the program coordinator and talk to him/her directly.  They are incredibly busy at this time of year and can't remember everyone personally!  Remind them of your friend's situation.  Your friend may have to contact them, rather than going through a third party (you).


I am hesitant to e-mail the coordinator back, because I don't want my friend to have any problems.



Why would your friend have any problems with this??

post #3 of 9
Thread Starter 

I was concerned about hostility over the fact that she is homeschooling while her family is struggling financially. 

post #4 of 9

Hi! How about the Adopt A Family programme or contacting the Savation Army?

post #5 of 9
If you're worried you could always call and ask how a home school family might get help since you understand that their program is typically run through the schools. If you don't mention you're the person who's been e-mailing, no one will know who you are or who your friends are. If you get a negative reaction, you just hang up and look for other options.
post #6 of 9

If you don't act immediately it will be too late. TOT is distributed quite early and it varies by location. You need to get a date and location chosen now by providing whatever information is requested. TOT uses volunteer servicepeople to run their campaigns; I doubt they are interested in debating homeschooling vs. family income.

post #7 of 9
Thread Starter 
So I e-mailed the coordinator back, and based on her response, it does not appear that the children can receive toys from their program due to their homeschool status. I asked for clarification, as this was implied in the e-mail that I received back, but was not explicitly stated. I am actually really disappointed because my friend originally told me that many of these programs work through the public schools and she was pretty sure they could not receive help. I just couldn't believe it was true. Does anyone know if children enrolled in other alternatives to public school (Charter schools, religious schools, online schools) can participate?
post #8 of 9

Well, that sucks. Churches or more local charities might be a better bet. I feel like there are many little groups that do adopt a family sorts of things with less need for them to prove income and fill out paperwork. I think there might be aid available through welfare offices if they get food stamps or something and are "in the system." I seem to remember getting a letter about it last year (we get food stamps) but I could be wrong. With only one child with very specific tastes and interests, it always seemed better to me to try to get him something he liked myself by keeping an eye out on freecycle than to set him up for the likely disappointment of gifts chosen at random for a boy, age x-y. 

post #9 of 9

Because the father of the family is considered active duty Army while he's in Basic training and AIT, the family qualifies for Army assistance services. Try Operation Homefront - www.operationhomefront.org or the American Legion. These organizations are dedicated to helping military families in need.

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