Each year we donate toys to Toy's for Tots. Christine and I started before the kids were born and its turned into an annual tradition. We keep alert for the Disney Stores 2 for 1 sale just before Christmas and then go on a Toy's For Tots Shopping spree. Its a lot of fun because we get to do the sort of gratuitous shopping that we'd never do for ourselves. Sort of an over-indulgence rush, but justified because its for needy kids.
In the past two years Alex has been especially helpful at showing us the right toys to pick out. Things we'd never thought to buy are his first choice. As Alex got older I thought it would become hard to get him to pick out toys for other kids without begging us to get toys for him as well. But so far he's been great! He gets excited about picking out the toys and then helps me bring them in to drop them off. This year he dutifully picked out toys (like a kid going crazy in a toy store), and as we were driving home he kept reminding me that "We need to bring the toys to the other kids."
This year a combination of the flu, colds and the Disney store holding out on their sale till the last minute caused us to miss the cutoff date for bringing toys to Toy's for Tots. Christine and I made a lot of calls but the bottom line was it was too late to give to Toys for Tots. We quickly started looking around for alternative places to donate. Christine found the Wheat Center which is providing toys for 750 kids, and I found a no kill cat shelter that was "desperately" in need of kitten food. So what seemed like a bunch of bad events turned out for the best. While Toy's for Tots is a great program, it was nice to be able to donate to specific local groups where we knew we were actually helping out people & kittens in our neighborhood.