Originally published April 1. Updated May 15, 2:59 p.m. ET
At this point, the news is like a broken record as we hear the same phrase constantly throughout each and every day: we are living in “unprecedented times.” That’s true, but challenges become opportunities, and when the coronavirus pandemic comes to an end, how companies and individuals handled themselves through the era of COVID-19 will come to define them as we move into a new future — whatever that may be.
As of this writing, social distancing has been recommended across much of the U.S. through at the end of May. At the Toy Book, we’ve been keeping tabs on how the toy industry is changing alongside adjacent businesses including licensing, entertainment, and retail. In the midst of all the bad, there is quite a bit of good that should be recognized.
Below is a list of companies that have stepped up to join the fight against COVID-19 in a variety of ways, from donations of goods and services to cash contributions to nonprofits and beyond. Some have used their sourcing networks to secure and provide medical supplies, while others have switched gears — in true wartime fashion — and retooled production lines to create much-needed supplies instead of making toys.
Toymakers Fighting COVID-19:
- The Bandai Foundation donated $55,000 to charities in Southern California. The Bandai Foundation has been working closely with Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County and CASA to help make a difference in the community.
- Basic Fun! donated 4,000 3M brand N95 surgical masks and an assortment of toys to facilities across the country.
- Blankie Tails is working with WGirls to get masks and other materials into the hands of healthcare workers in New York and New Jersey.
- Chalk of the Town is donating 10% of profits through June 15 to City Harvest.
- The Chicago Toy & Game Group has launched a digital resource hub for families to discover fun ideas to do at home. Additionally, the group has launched the 15th Annual Young Inventor Challenge early with its first-ever virtual spring event.
- Crazy Aaron’s has shifted production from Thinking Putty to hand sanitizer. The company’s online store is open, but shipping is suspended temporarily.
- CreateOn released a Healthcare Heroes Luminary Magna-Tiles collection that honors healthcare providers. 20% of proceeds will benefit Global Empowerment Mission’s (GEM) BStrong efforts to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) to healthcare providers across the country.
- Disney Parks donated 150,000 rain ponchos to MedShare for distribution to hospitals, and more than 100,000 N95 masks to the states of New York, California, and Florida.
- Goliath Games will give all proceeds from all sales of its Virus card game during the month of April to the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO). Additionally, the company is supporting organizations with in-kind donations of puzzles and games.
- Hasbro is working with No Kid Hungry and Save the Children. The company also launched its Bring Home the Fun campaign and online resource hub to help families stay engaged. Additionally, the company partnered with Cartamundi to produce 50,000 face shields each week.
- Jazwares donated masks and cleaning supplies to various hospitals including Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, Broward General, Memorial West, and Stanford in addition to individual healthcare providers across the country.
- Jupiter Creations donated 5,000 masks to the New York Police Department.
- The LEGO Group and the LEGO Foundation have launched initiatives to aid families through content and financial donations. The company is also producing more than 13,000 visors a day for healthcare providers in Denmark. Additionally, LEGO has partnered with Fairy Bricks to donate 30,000 LEGO sets to the children of healthcare workers in the UK.
- Maingear, a New Jersey-based maker of custom gaming PCs, has retrofitted its factory to produce LIV ventilators for intensive care units.
- Mattel donated toys and art supplies to kids as part of Los Angeles Unified’s “LA Students Most in Need” charitable effort. Additionally, Mattel design and development teams in El Segundo, California and East Aurora, New York are producing face masks using Barbie and Fisher-Price fabric. The company is also producing personal protective equipment (PPE) such as face shields. The company also launched the Mattel Playroom, an online resource hub for families and has debuted a #ThankYouHeroes line of action figures and Fisher-Price Little People.
- MGA Entertainment (MGAE) launched “Operation: Pac-Man” in an effort to pool resources and get medical supplies to healthcare providers. The company sourced 2 million masks from overseas; will offer use of its 15 3D printers to hospitals; and has re-tooled the Little Tikes factory in Ohio to produce medical equipment — including an original ventilator design — domestically. An MGAE Cares website with resources is live for donations and PPE requests. Additionally, an L.O.L. Surprise! Frontline Hero doll is being sold to raise funds for the efforts.
- MMG Brands is responding to the desperate need for personal protective equipment by shifting its resources and production focus to the sourcing and manufacturing of FDA-approved N95 respirator masks, nitrile gloves, hospital gowns, and other items.
- The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame is producing bobbleheads of Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx of the White House Coronavirus Task Force. As of April 15, more than $130,000 has been raised through sales of the Dr. Fauci bobblehead alone. $5 from each bobblehead sold will be donated to the Protect The Heroes Fund in support of the 100 Million Mask Challenge.
- The ORB Factory, parent company of ORB Toys, is shifting production to help meet the need for hand sanitizer and other anti-bacterial products around the world.
- Playmobil released a new video explaining the coronavirus situation to kids and launched the reusable Playmobil Nose and Mouth Mask.
- Radio Flyer donated 1,000 wagons, tricycles, scooters, and ride-ons to Cradles to Crayons Chicago. The company also launched its #PlayingAtHome initiative.
- Rainbow Loom founder Choon Ng purchased 10,000 N95 masks to that will be donated to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.
- R&R Games is supporting customers’ favorite local game store (FLGS). When customers purchase family-friendly games from R&R Games’ website using the offer code “StayNplayAtHome,” the company will take 30% off the price and donate another 25% of its proceeds to consumers’ FLGS. All customers need to do is send their order number to firstname.lastname@example.org, along with the name of their FLGS, and R&R Games will take care of the rest and write a check.
- Shore Buddies is donating 100% of its profits from online sales to organizations that protect related animals.
- Spin Master created face shields using headbands from its Hedbanz game fitted with PET inserts. The first shipment was delivered to Michael Garron Hospital in Toronto, Ontario this week. The company is producing more than 10,000 per day and will be shipping to hospitals in North America and eventually globally.
- The Toy Association is calling upon toy designers and others with 3D printing capability to help create medical parts. Full details can be found here. Additionally, The Genius of Play has launched a new initiative called “Play Today.”
- Ty has issued a Hope Beanie Boo with proceeds supporting the United Way COVID-19 Fund.
- Vermont Teddy Bear is sewing masks to donate to healthcare providers. Interested parties can email email@example.com for more information.
- VTech and LeapFrog are partnering with AdoptAClassroom.org to support classrooms impacted by COVID-19. AdoptAClassroom.org is working directly with educators, schools and vendor partners to identify their needs and get tools in the hands of students. Through Friday, April 3, VTech and LeapFrog will be matching all donations made here: bit.ly/LearnThroughThisDonation up to $50,000. Additionally, the companies have launched Learn Through This, an online resource for families, parents, and caregivers.
- What Do You Meme? is partnering with Feeding America to provide 1 million meals to families in need.
- ZURU is sharing its COVID-19 Prevention and Control Handbook. The 21-page resource is being offered to all business owners worldwide, free of charge.
For a detailed list of consumer resources and free activities being offered, visit our sister publication, the Toy Insider.
If you know of another company that should be recognized on this page, please shoot us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org