Vikes for Tykes keeps toy drive tradition alive by transitioning online

The Vikes for Tykes Toy Drive moves online in the wake of COVID-19 to help ensure children still get toys this holiday season.

Aly Andersen - 2 December 2020

The Vikes for Tykes program is a student-athlete led initiative that was created to allow Augustana athletes to give back to the very community that supports them throughout the athletic season. Each year they hold a Christmas toy drive, where toys are donated to Camrose Kinettes and the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. 

However, student-athletes have had to get creative to keep the spirit of the toy drive alive this year, due to COVID-19. From December 1 to 6, Vikes for Tykes will be collecting donations online

"I can't stress enough how appreciated our donations are each year! During normal circumstances, we have had the opportunity to go to the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton to hand-deliver toys to the children and spend the morning hanging with them," says Danielle Brockman, Vikes for Tykes executive and Vikings women's volleyball captain. "The smiles on their faces as they get to choose their toys is priceless. We have been large contributors to these programs and is very important we continue our initiative for years to come."

All donations will be made to the Boys and Girls Club, which will then be used to buy for the Camrose Kinettes program to provide toys to underprivileged families in the area, as well as the Stollery Children's Hospital in Edmonton. Last year the initiative was able to donate over 1000 toys split between these organizations during the holiday season. 

Brockman believes online monetary donations can create the same level of magic for children and hopes to continue online donations for the Vikes for Tykes Toy Drive in the future, along with in-person donations at Vikings games.

"While it was disappointing that we were unable to do the usual toy drive in which fans bring toys as admission, moving donations online has brought its advantages," adds Brockman. "It has allowed us to broaden our scope substantially, reaching out to many who are unable to make it to the games. This way, alumni and family members are still able to take part and contribute despite living elsewhere. Donating money instead of toys to these programs provides a rare opportunity for them to buy exactly what is needed this year."

If interested, donations to the Vikes for Tykes toy drive can be made here. When making a donation, be sure to choose the "share my name in comments" tab and list "Vikes for Tykes Toy Drive" in the comments so that Vikes for Tykes gets your donation.

You can also help spread the word by throwing it back to 2010 and participating in the Plank for Toys challenge. Simply plank in random places and post to Instagram. Be sure to tag @vikesfortykes and @uofa_augvikings, nominate others to take part in the challenge, share why you #plankfortoys and where they can donate and then follow along as others take part!