Giving Back Through Toys for Tots

“People are struggling,” says Kyle Breeden, 11. “But I can help the community so that we can all have a magical Christmas.”

Have you ever thought about what it would be like to give instead of get for your birthday? Kyle Breeden, 11, has done that ever since he was six years old. Every November, Kyle invites his entire class to his birthday celebration. He asks each friend to bring a new, unwrapped toy to donate to Toys for Tots. 

Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps. The organization distributes Christmas toys to children whose parents cannot afford them. Kyle, who is a fifth grader at St. Joseph School-Fullerton in Baltimore, Maryland, has donated more than 2,000 toys to the program. He plans to continue collecting toys for other kids for years to come.

During a recent interview, Kyle told me that his parents have always been involved in fundraisers and charity events. When he was five, Kyle asked his parents how he could help, too. Like every kid, he was looking forward to his birthday, which falls right before Christmas. He wondered if he could donate his birthday toys, so his family helped him get involved in Toys for Tots. Of his charitable acts, Kyle said, “People are struggling. But I can help the community so that we can all have a magical Christmas.”


Kyle with John Minadakis (center), the owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood, and Jack Young, the former mayor of Baltimore


John Minadakis, the owner of Jimmy’s Famous Seafood in Baltimore, hosts an annual Toys for Tots gala. Each year, Kyle attends the event to deliver his collected toys to the charity.

“I have never seen someone give so much at such a young age,” Mindakis said of Kyle. “His clarity and ability to put others before himself are traits that will take him far in life.”

Kyle hopes that through his example, other kids will be inspired to give back. “It feels good just to be nice,” he said. “Even the smallest toy can make a kid’s day.” 

Photos courtesy of Kyle Breeden