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The FedEx hero behind Toy Box

Date posted: 22 Jan 2016

“It’s just giving a helping hand,” said Nathan Thorogood, “in any shape or form you can. I like to do my part for charity; just to help out where I can.”

A Technical Support Administrator for FedEx Express Europe during the day, Nathan Thorogood is a part-time hero for KidsOut. As the Toy Box Dispatch Manager for the charity’sToy Box service, Thorogood single-handedly sends out hundreds of toy boxes every month to children across the country. “FedEx asked if I wanted to get involved, and I said yes,” he said. “I’ve been involved in about two packing days, which were both quite big and it’s all volunteer.”

Toy Box requests arrive daily through the KidsOut website and are then passed on to Thorogood and FedEx to dispatch. “The whole process can take up to 6 minutes per box,” he said. “I go into the email inbox, sort through the requests, put the correct labels onto the boxes and ship them out.”

Developed some eight years ago, the Toy Box service provides toys and games to children who have witnessed or been victims of domestic violence. Having escaped the abuse for the safety of a refuge, often with only the clothes on their backs, the children and mother are eventually relocated to a new home to start again. To ease the anxiety of moving into a strange community, KidsOut sends each child their very own box of toys, welcoming them to their new lives.

Sustained through donations and the generosity of FedEx, the KidsOut Toy Box service is anticipated to reach up to 1,600 children this financial year. “In the years I’ve been working with KidsOut I’ve definitely seen an increase in the number of toy boxes going out,” said Thorogood. “It’s good for the families and helps us get our name out there.”

To meet the increasing need for toys, this year Toy Fair 2016 is partnering with KidsOut. The partnership will see KidsOut providing volunteers to take part in the annual Trolley Dash, which takes place on the final afternoon of the annual Toy Fair, with toys donated into Toy Boxes.

Toy Boxes go out year round to children aged from birth to 13 years. “The service is really very useful to us,” said a refuge worker in Wales. “When our families move out of refuge they literally have only what they brought with them when fleeing, often only the clothes on their back, and possibly the odd thing they could afford when in refuge. The toy boxes are such an important part to help the children settle into their permanent home.”

“I like to think it puts a smile on their faces,” said Thorogood. “They haven’t had a great start in childhood, and I like to think the boxes make them smile.”

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