Everyone knows that Toys for Tots is the Marine’s holiday toy drive for underprivileged children. There are many drop boxes in which to leave your toys. But one place I bet you don’t expect to find Toys for Tots is in an Atlantic City casino. That's exactly where I did find them, however, thanks to Jennifer Martin Elberson, a dedicated casino host who loves kids.
Jennifer Martin Elberson is an Executive Customer Development Host at Showboat. As such, Jennifer holds a party each year for her customers. Five years ago, Jennifer began asking those customers to bring a toy to the party, in honor of her birthday (Dec. 12). It’s blossomed ever since.
Jennifer told me she starts the Toys for Tots drive about a month before it’s time to give the toys; however, she will take toys anytime they are brought to her. She says her office mate has resigned herself to living in a bit of a toy warehouse.
I began this event in 2009 to help raise local awareness of the need for toy donations in our community, said Elberson. “With the support of my co-workers and customers, we have donated thousands of toys. The Toys for Tots Foundation is a great charity and I am honored to assist with their efforts and work for a company like Caesars Entertainment who is so invested in giving back to the community.”
Nikki Jackson, Regional Community Relations Manager for Caesars Entertainment, was also on hand to coordinate the event of loading the “sleigh” at Harrah’s Resort on Friday, Dec. 13 (actually a U-Haul trailer). The toys were carefully loaded by a group of dedicated former Marines to be taken to their headquarters across from the Shore Mall. It’s there that the approximately 15,000 registered families will go to pick up toys for their children.
Jennifer estimates that this year’s collection netted about 23,000 toys. In addition to the toys donated as Jennifer’s birthday presents, Caesars, Bally’s, Harrah’s Resort and Showboat HERO teams also contributed to the toy count.
Thanks to Jennifer, Nikki, the Marines and a whole lot of generous people who donated toys, Christmas will be a little bit brighter for many children in Atlantic County this year.