In 1921 a loose knit organization, at the request of the Pinellas Health Department, began distributing new and recycled Christmas toys to needy south Pinellas County children. The present Christmas Toy Shop Project, Incorporated - organized in 1951 at the request of the Community Welfare Council - coordinates the efforts of clubs, agencies, and individuals in toy giving. In 1959, the City of St. Petersburg chartered the Toy Shop. The Christmas Toy Shop is a non-profit, all volunteer charitable organization. All donations, both cash and merchandise, are deductible as permitted by existing tax laws.
Unlike some charitable organizations, The Christmas Toy Shop has no paid administrators or staff. 100% of all donations support the Toy Shop's goal of providing toys to needy children at Christmas. Each year over 60 volunteers donate over 15,000 hours of their time to prepare and distribute these gifts.
All year round, the Toy Shop receives donations of new and used toys to recycle, games, books, puzzles, bicycles, and other items for children ages 0 through 12. The Toy Shop is the ultimate recycling center. New toys are purchased with donations from community contributions.
Names of needy families with children 12 years and under are referred to the Toy Shop by city and county agencies, Head Start, Coordinated Child Care, We Help, Pinellas County Health Department, Free Clinic, Healthy Families, Healthy Start, and the Department of Children and Families. Other family referrals arrive from local agencies, churches, schools, Salvation Army, and other groups and individuals.
Each year parents or guardians of the children are invited to the Toy Shop in December to select toys. Each child receives new toys, a book, used toys, and miscellaneous stocking stuffers. The families of 25 local agencies, many churches, and several schools are served by our Toy Shop each December.
For Christmas 2019 we served 1,455 children, 499 bicycles were distributed, and 644 families were assisted.
In 1951 the Christmas Toy Shop was originally located at 1655 16th Street South. We outgrew this building and acquired a building at 550 16th Street North in 1989 - "The North Pole". So much time was taken in moving toys to the location for distribution, it was decided to enlarge "The North Pole" to save time, money, and energy, so that all work and distribution will be under one roof. With this addition, we now have 20,800 square feet of work and storage space including a bicycle shop and a carpentry shop. Our Toy Shop is open all year round, Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from 9:00 am to 3:00 pm. Our present and only location is 550 16th Street North, St. Petersburg, Florida, 33705. For more information call (727) 898-3962.
We are a tax exempt organization. In accordance with IRS guidelines, one may deduct donations to the Christmas Toy Shop Project, Incorporated, as charitable contributions since nothing is received in exchange.