Play Connects: Bringing Nutrition and School Supplies to Orange County Families

August 12, 2013 |The Toy Industry Foundation’s (TIF) Play Connects program invites Toy Industry Association (TIA) member companies to nominate charities in their own communities to receive TIF grant funding. In 2012, four nominated charities were selected to receive up to $10,000 each to help low income, disabled and at-risk children across the country. Over the course of the summer, Toy News Tuesday is profiling the charities that received grants last year to showcase how the funds are making an important difference in children’s lives.

Nominated by TIA member Bandai America, Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC) was among four charities to receive a Play Connects grant of $10,000 last year in support of the charity’s mission to end hunger and poverty through its Farm 2 Kids and Backpack for Success! programs, which help children in need in Garden Grove, CA.

Working with local schools and farmers, Farm 2 Kids provides healthy produce bags to 10,000 low-income elementary schools each month to help alleviate malnutrition among impoverished children.  The program also promotes physical activity and aims to educate administrators and teachers so that they can help their students adopt healthy, lifelong habits and ultimately stave off chronic disease including heart disease, cancer, obesity and type 2 diabetes.

CAPOC’s Backpacks for Success! program helps struggling families by partnering with community foundations, local businesses, service groups and volunteers to distribute new backpacks and school supplies, as well as healthy snacks and nutrition education, to youth living in neighborhoods affected by high unemployment and poverty.

“Thanks to the Play Connects funding awarded to CAPOC, the charity distributed more than 70,000 bags of fresh fruit and vegetables to 21 partner schools and agencies, and purchased backpacks and supplies for 500 children throughout Orange County last year,” said Marisa Medina, TIF manager. “Having new school supplies and nutritious food sets these young students up for success!”

TIF depends on donations to make programs such as Play Connects possible.  To make a contribution, visit or contact Foundation Manager Marisa Medina (646.454.5581).

2013 Play Connects grant recipients will be announced this fall.