When Compass Properties, LLC building management staff members organized a holiday toy drive for all of downtown Milwaukee at the beginning of December, they had no idea how successful they would be.
As the first toy drive of its kind, the charity initiative collected more than 2,500 toys, 943 stocking stuffers, 421 books, and $1,875 in monetary donations – all of which has been donated to the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
“We really didn’t know what kind of support we would get and how the downtown community would respond, and it was overwhelming,” said Sheldon Oppermann, vice president of Compass Properties. “We’re very grateful for everybody’s kind of cooperation and support. We’re very thankful.”
Compass Properties collected donations Dec. 1 through Dec. 19 and also accepted donations earlier this week. They stored all toys in the PrivateBank in the City Center at 735 building, which Compass Properties owns and manages.
In facilitating the toy drive, building management staff created a drive-up service at the City Center at 735 building in which donors could pull up, honk their horn and give their items to a staff member. With a designated valet worker at a valet stand, organizers made the drive as seamless as possible for donors on the go.
The drive collected three boxes worth of donations each day on a steady pace, according to Oppermann.
“It was wildly successful,” he said.
The drive was open daily primarily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but with Compass Properties employees staffing the building 24 hours each day, community members could drop their donations off round the clock.
While Oppermann assisted with the operation of the toy drive, he credits his staff for coming up with the charity concept and propelling it forward and expanding it to all of downtown.
“They could have just asked our tenants to donate, but they wanted to do more,” Oppermann said. “I was really excited about that.”
The U.S. Marine Corps picked up all donations from Compass Properties to be distributed to kids in need. All monetary donations will go toward the purchase of additional toys.
“It’s a unique opportunity for people to see there’s lots of good out there, too, and not just some of the stuff you see on the news,” Oppermann said.