Thursday, April 17, 2014 · 11:27 a.m.
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An upcoming drive will collect toys to give to Toys for Tots. (Photo: MGNOnline)

A survey from the American Red Cross found that—despite donating to political causes and relief for Hurricane Sandy—Americans will still make charitable contributions this holiday season.  

Local residents have an array of possibilities for giving, and one upcoming event allows them to provide toys to children in need. 

Draeger’s Toy Drive holds Chattanooga’s largest event benefiting Toys for Tots, Greg Draeger with the local organization said. 

If you go

What: Draeger’s Toy Drive

When:  Dec. 8, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.

Where: First Tennessee Pavilion, 1826 Reggie White Blvd. 

More information: Draeger’s Toy Drive Festival will feature a car show, craft show, raffles, Santa Clause and live music.

Click here for more information. 

"It's a huge deal," he said of the upcoming toy drive event. "It's not a small little group getting together on the side of the road." 

Local event
Draeger’s Toy Drive is a local not-for-profit organization that acts as the middleman between the public and Toys for Tots leaders, Draeger said. 

There are currently about 150 drop-off locations around the city, he said. 

Last year, there were about 50 drop-off locations. 

Draeger helped collect 1,300 toys last year, and it was the first year he hosted the large toy drive event. 

This year's preliminary goal is to collect 2,500 toys. But Draeger's personal goal is to get as many as 5,000 toys. 

The Dec. 8 toy drive at First Tennessee Pavilion is also an effort to raise awareness about Toys for Tots, he said. 

"The Marines are going to be down there," he said. "We'll be able to educate people on what Toys for Tots actually is. Most of the people don't know that Toys for Tots is the Marine Corps."

Extra money raised through raffle drawings will go toward filling in the gaps of toys needed. Often, certain age groups, such as 10 to 15 years old, don't get as many donations, Draeger said. 

End-of-year charitable giving 
The survey from the American Red Cross found that 78 percent of the 1,010 adults surveyed, who had already given to Sandy relief efforts, will not reduce their contributions to nonprofits this year. 

And 90 percent of those who have already given to political causes said that it will not impact their end-of-year charitable giving. 

“It’s encouraging that people are willing to support the work of charitable organizations even in a year when there has been increased giving to political causes and Hurricane Sandy,” Gail J. McGovern, president and CEO of the Red Cross, said in a prepared statement. “Nonprofits like the Red Cross are there for people in need every day and everywhere and rely on year-end fundraising to fulfill their mission.”

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