Turnaround Toys aims to reach 100,000 kids

Jan. 26, 2013 @ 05:00 PM

Lynn Fitzgerald has always had big plans for Turnaround Toys and this year some of those plans are becoming a reality. 

The organization takes new or gently used toys and gives them to children in need in the community. 

This year, their goal is to help 100,000 local children, which is double the number of children they reached last year. 

They also plan to launch an international program through the Caribbean basin though the Reaching All Children Everywhere (RACE) program. They are partnering with The Agape House in Freeport, Bahamas and other organizations. 

Executive Director Fitzgerald hopes to go state-to-state and into the Caribbean. However, they do not plan to cut services to local children. 

"I wanted to always be local and we'll always be local," Fitzgerald said. "We'll always put 60 percent of our interest locally. Because, for me, I don't think it's fair to help somebody across the world when your neighbor is starving." 

Fitzgerald is planning numerous local events for what she has dubbed "The Year of Children." 

She wanted to spread to the Caribbean after visiting the Bahamas on a cruise. Before the trip, she did not know about the economic conditions in the island nation. 

"I was actually horrified," Fitzgerald said. "I was devastated to (see) how they live." 

She made contacts in the area and together they have been working on a partnership. 

"Basically what we want to do there is go to group homes and orphanages all in that area and send toys to them monthly," she said. 

They have spent most of the month planning their calendar and laying the groundwork for this year. 

However, Fitzgerald needs help from the community. 

"Right now we're very much in need of financial backing," she said. "We're also really in need for affluent community members to step up and come behind us." 

"We have great vision, we have great programs, we have great everything, but how much can you do," she asked. 

The charity is also in need of new batteries of all sizes, ziplock bags of all sizes, plastic bins and shelving units. 

"We obviously will always take toy donations," Fitzgerald said. 

Volunteers are also welcome in the warehouse and for events. She is currently trying to set up events in February and a large summer event. 

• Turnaround Toys can be reached by calling 704-380-0773 or e-mailing turnaroundtoys@gmail.com.