Project Toy Box – United Way of Tri-County brings fun to kids during crisis

Jessica Tolton from the Boys & Girls Club of MetroWest (Marlborough, Hudson and Framingham)

Region – The United Way of Tri-County (UWTC) recently announced that they have donated thousands of brand-new toys and games to underprivileged children in MetroWest/495 corridor communities through a program they have named Project Toy Box.

While parents and caregivers across the commonwealth learned last month that their kids will not be returning to school this school year, the United Way of Tri-County decided they needed to give kids something to look forward to, according to a press release from the organization.

UWTC partnered with 14 local social service agencies and nonprofits across the region to get brand new toys and games into the hands of kids ages 5 to 12.  .

“We are always here to provide critical support to families in need, but we also want to give children something to smile about during an extremely stressful time,” said Paul Mina, President & CEO at the United Way of Tri-County.  “In times when there is so much bad news, it feels good to do something that simply brings joy to a child.”

A tractor-trailer packed with 52 pallets, all stacked with brand new LEGOs, sports balls, stuffed animals, toy trucks, board games, activity books, and more arrived at the United Way’s Downtown Framingham warehouse May 4.

Staff spent hours sorting items by age range and preparing for agency distribution on May 5 and again on May 7. The Framingham warehouse space on Blandin Ave.  used to store and sort the toys was generously donated by the Stonegate Group of Natick.

In an effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19 and adhere to the statewide ban on large gatherings, the United Way of Tri-County asked that agencies arrive at their warehouse to collect the games and toys, and urged social distancing and the use of masks.  In turn, agencies are distributing the donated items to qualifying families following the same safety guidelines.

The United Way of Tri-County is known for giving presents away during their Hope for the Holidays program each December, but recently secured the truckload of toys through their ongoing relationship with Good360 to help ease children’s anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic.

If you would like to support the United Way of Tri-County’s COVID-19 emergency response fund, visit

Carlos Uribe and Zach Burchell, CHAPs, Inc. (Hudson)