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Shaq-A-Clause and Toys”R”Us spread holiday cheer


The holidays will be a little more joyous this year for some of the 14.7 million U.S. children living in poverty.

Toys"R"Ustoday announced the launch of its annual nationwide fundraising campaign to benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Now through Sunday, December 7, consumers can donate new, unwrapped toys at any Toys"R"Us or Babies"R"Usstore across the country and online The company will also collect monetary donations in-store and online through Christmas Eve.

Again this year, NBA Legend, philanthropist and entrepreneur Shaquille O'Neal is reporting back to Toys for Tots duty as his alter ego Shaq-A-Claus to encourage customers to donate to the cause, along with a new mission that will help double the giving: the #PlayItForward Challenge. Throughout the campaign, Shaq-A-Claus is asking supporters to take the ultimate "un-selfie"-- a photo of themselves donating a toy in any Toys"R"Us store across the country. For every selfie shared using #PlayItForward, Toys"R"Us will donate an additional toy to Toys for Tots, ensuring even more children in need have a toy to open on Christmas morning.

"I personally know that play can positively impact the life of a child. When I was young, it was a basketball I received on Christmas morning that empowered me to dream that I could someday become a basketball star," said Shaquille O'Neal. "Growing up, my parents always impressed upon me the importance of giving back to those in need, and that even the small gift of a toy could make a big difference in someone's life – like it did in mine. My partnership with Toys"R"Us to collect toys and raise funds for Toys for Tots puts a smile on my face and gives me a sense of great pride, and this season, I'm calling on all my little elves to help #PlayItForward to make a Shaq-sized difference in kids' lives!"

With kids and kids-at-heart eager to find ways to give back to those less fortunate, throughout the nine-week campaign Shaq-A-Claus and Toys"R"Us will encourage customers to participate in the #PlayItForward Challenge.

Shoppers can help #PlayItForward by taking and sharing a selfie when donating a toy to Toys for Tots at Toys"R"Us stores. Participants are also asked to share their selfies on the Toys"R"Us Facebook page to tag @Toysrus when posting onTwitterandInstagram. For every photo shared using the dedicated hashtag, Toys"R"Us will donate an additional toy (or the equivalent cash value) to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, up to $150,000, demonstrating that giving a little has the potential to make a big impact on the lives of others.

And, Toys"R"Us will triple its charitable gifting on Tuesday, December 2, now known as #GivingTuesday, a social media movement designed to kick off the season of giving. On this day, the company will donate two toys to Toys for Tots for every donation selfie posted on social media using #PlayItForward.

Throughout the 2014 campaign, fans of theToys"R"Us Facebookpage, as well as its followers onTwitterandInstagram, will enjoy exclusive content, including special messages from Shaq-A-Claus, fundraising updates and more. To help spread awareness and further engage the online community, the company has created a viral video series in which Shaq-A-Claus demonstrates how to #PlayItForward and encourages others to do the same. To motivate his own followers to #PlayItForward, Shaq-A-Claus will alsoTweetandInstagram(@SHAQ), as well as post on Facebook

"For more than a decade, Toys"R"Us has been instrumental in helping Toys for Tots deliver happiness on Christmas morning to the millions of kids living in poverty throughout the U.S.," said retired Lt. Gen. Pete Osman, USMC, president and CEO, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. "And this year, Toys"R"Us will do one better and donate even more toys to the Foundation through the #PlayItForward challenge. This is why we urge all Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us customers to donate and participate in the social media initiative, helping ensure this year is a record-breaking success in reaching even more kids in need."

To make it even easier to #PlayItForward while shopping with Toys"R"Us, the company is once again offering customersThe Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List, the official Toys for Tots wish list filled with toy suggestions, including crafts, play sets, electronics,

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