Toys For Kids gives gifts to homeless and disadvantaged children during the holidays, filling their hearts with hope and joy.
Founded by Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs and former Mariners center fielder Dave Henderson, over 90% of all donations directly benefit children. In our first 15 years we raised over $1 million, purchased more than 40,000 toys and helped host more than 50 holiday parties.
“Where are the Kids?”
In September of 1995, Rick Rizzs and Dave Henderson were watching the news after a Seattle Mariners game. A report stated Seattle’s homeless count was teetering at 8,000 men and women. Rick and Dave’s first thought was, “Where are the kids?”
Neither man was sure. But, both men knew they wanted to make a difference. “Let’s find them,” Rick suggested, “and take them toys for Christmas.”
Dave thought it was a great idea. Together, they called “the guys” – Mariners players they believed would share their passion. In total, 12 “guys” pooled their money and, in December, gave more than 300 toys to homeless and disadvantaged kids.
Giving More Hope
That first year, Rick and Dave saw how 300 toys barely scratched the surface. The number of kids in need was staggering. The solution was simple – they needed more toys.
As generous as “the guys” were, doing more also required passing the hat to those outside the clubhouse. Rick and Dave started a small auction, hosting it at Safeco Field and selling autographed memorabilia. The results were promising, but Rick and Dave still wanted to reach more kids.
Virgil Fassio, Commissioner of the Seattle Mariners RBI Club, contacted Rick and Dave in 2000. He and the RBI Club wanted to help. Rick and Dave could not have been more pleased. An excellent partnership was born.
Since then, the Toys For Kids fundraising efforts have grown substantially. More than 6,000 toys are given on a yearly basis.