Shaquille O’Neal, Toys “R” Us #PlayItForward for Toys for Tots

Shaq’s back: Retired National Basketball Association legend Shaquille O’Neal will once again be Shaq-a-Claus as part of the #PlayItForward Challenge from retail giant Toys “R” Us, benefiting the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

2014ShaqAClaus650Shaq’s back: Retired National Basketball Association legend Shaquille O’Neal will once again be Shaq-a-Claus as part of the #PlayItForward Challenge from retail giant Toys “R” Us, benefiting the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

From now through Sunday, Dec. 7, new, unwrapped toys can be donated at Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores nationwide, or they can be purchased online. Monetary donations will also be collected in-store and online through Christmas Eve.

In addition, for every person who shares a photo of himself or herself donating a toy at a Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us location and uses the hashtag #PlayItForward, Toys “R” Us will donate an additional toy to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.

And on Tuesday, Dec. 2, #GivingTuesday, the retailer will donate two toys to Toys for Tots for every selfie with the #PlayItForward hashtag.

Throughout the initiative, exclusive content from Shaq-a-Claus, including special messages and fundraising updates, will be available via the Toys “R” Us Facebook page, Twitter account and Instagram page.

Toys “R” Us Children’s Fund chairman Kathleen Waugh said in a press release announcing the initiative:

Play is a powerful tool that inspires young imaginations and creates memories that remain with children forever. That’s why, in our 11th year of partnership with the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, we are more dedicated than ever to providing toys to those who might go without one on Christmas morning. This year, with the help of the biggest and most kind-hearted “kid” we know, Shaquille O’Neal, it is our mission to #PlayItForward and double the gift of play for kids in need.

O’Neal added:

I personally know that play can positively impact the life of a child. When I was young, it was a basketball I received on Christmas morning that empowered me to dream that I could someday become a basketball star. Growing up, my parents always impressed upon me the importance of giving back to those in need, and that even the small gift of a toy could make a big difference in someone’s life — like it did in mine. My partnership with Toys “R” Us to collect toys and raise funds for Toys for Tots puts a smile on my face and gives me a sense of great pride, and this season, I’m calling on all my little elves to help #PlayItForward to make a Shaq-sized difference in kids’ lives!