Have you ever participated in your local, annual, end-of-the-year toy drive? Ever donated toys to "Toys for Tots" or one of the many other organizations accepting toys for disadvantaged children in America? If you're a Buy American advocate, you've probably asked yourself if there was a way to participate in this good cause while still remaining true to your patriotic beliefs of supporting American workers whenever possible.
What better way is there to make Christmas in 2006 even more special than by putting smiles on the faces of children who might otherwise receive no gifts from Santa? But as it is with any act of good intentions, we need to be careful to ensure the process is just as honorable as what we set out to accomplish. So how can we avoid the trap of buying toys made by underprivileged kids in China to give to underprivileged kids in America? By buying American-made toys made under acceptable, humane conditions right here in the USA.
Well over 90% of all toys sold in America today are made in China where violations of child-labor and human-rights laws run rampant. Children under what we would consider a legal working age are routinely forced to work 12 hours a day or more. Wages are often less than a dollar an hour. Since there few if any safety, pollution or environmental controls in China, these children work in much less than what we Americans would consider a healthy atmosphere. Children should attend school - not work in sweatshop factories.
So here is your chance to participate in the First Annual All-American Toy Drive! Below is a list of American-company websites that make all of their toys in the USA.
Also, if you find yourself in a toy store, anything you buy from the American Plastic Toy Company ( www.americanplastictoys.com) is made in America. You can also donate these American-made items:
Crayola Crayons*, Play-Doh*, Louisville Slugger, Radio Flyer Discovery Wagon, Chutes and Ladders, Clue, Connect Four, Boggle Jr., Battleship, Candyland, Life, Monopoly, Operation, Mouse Trap, Parcheesi, Scrabble, Sorry, Stratego, Pop-O-Matic Trouble, Trivial Pursuit, Yahtzee, Tri-ominos, Bicycle Playing Cards and the Melissa and Doug U.S.A. Floor Puzzle.
*Note: Not all packages of Crayola Crayons and Play-Doh are made in the USA - please check the label.
This may not be a complete list of U.S.-made toys and games, so please check the label. If it says "Made in USA" or "Assembled in USA," it qualifies for the All-American Toy Drive.
Simply order toys from any of the websites or lists above and send them to:
How Americans Can Buy American
P.O. Box 780839
Orlando, FL 32878-0839.
(Deadline is December 15)
All toys received will be donated to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation in Orlando, Florida.
Remember, when you buy American-made toys, you're helping to bolster American jobs, support American entrepreneurship and promote American innovation. And not just as Christmas present becomes Christmas past, but also as we as individuals and a nation look forward to Christmas future, too.
Roger Simmermaker is the author of "How Americans Can Buy American: The Power of Consumer Patriotism." He also writes "Buy American Mention of the Week" articles for his website www.howtobuyamerican.com and is a member of the Machinists Union and National Writers Union. Roger has been a frequent guest on the Fox News Channel, CNN and MSNBC and has been quoted in the USA Today, Wall Street Journal and US News & World Report among many other publications.