PRINCETON, NJ – Two Princeton teens are spreading joy and positivity by handing out toys to children in the community.
Ryan and Kyle Grzymala’s project, R + K Toys, collects used toys and games and gives them to children in need. And the boys have been doing this for eight years.
“When I started this project, I was in grade 5 at Riverside Elementary School,” said Ryan, 17.
At the time, Ryan discovered that he had outgrown some toys, but didn’t want to throw them away because they were in good condition.
“This is how we came up with the idea of giving elementary school children newer and more toys to play with,” he said.
What began at Riverside Elementary has slowly spread to other schools in Princeton. The Grzymala brothers would pick up lightly used toys, clean them, and redistribute them to teachers for use in their classrooms, at recess indoors, and to students who the teachers thought might enjoy them at home. .
The duo collect around 1,000 toys each year and hold two to three toy distribution events.
They have established partnerships with local groups and organizations. They presented their project at the Princeton Public Library freecycle event as well as at the Sustainable Princeton for their first Greenfest.
“Last year’s Sustainable Princeton event was important and we were able to donate all of our toys, including excess stock,” Ryan said.
But this year, due to the pandemic, the duo had to change their distribution style. They do curbside collections and most recently are linked to the Princeton Mobile Food Pantry, donating around 95 toys per month.
“The Sustainable Princeton Repair Cafe that we had, I think was our biggest event this year,” said Kyle, a 13-year-old grade 8 student at Princeton United Middle School.
The duo’s project not only brings smiles to other children, but also contributes to the preservation of the environment by avoiding waste. And the brothers got involved in the project.
Before the pandemic, Ryan said he would receive messages from a friend asking him to come out. “But we would refuse because there would be so much to sort out in the garage,” he said.
Currently, they are sorting out toys to donate to HomeFront NJ – an organization that helps families fight poverty and homelessness.
As Ryan prepares to leave for college, the responsibility of making the project work falls on Kyle.
“We’ve grown so much. And we’re still focused on expanding and expanding. But eventually, that will reach a point where we have to take a new step above that. And it’s still under consideration. “Kyle said. .
If you would like to donate lightly used toys, you can register and follow the Facebook page R + K Toys. You can also email them at firstname.lastname@example.org. The brothers will set a date and time to come and collect the donation.
All donations of toys, games and puzzles are accepted. The project does not accept video games, stuffed animals or mainly fabric items such as dolls etc.
This story is part of Patch’s Headlining Hope series, which features local nonprofits and charities in need of volunteers and resources. If you know of a local organization that should be profiled, contact email@example.com.