Kidz USA began in 2002 as a holiday toy drive for children by children. Founder and creator Ana Steigerwald was inspired when her young children asked her if they could give some of their new Christmas gifts to the kids in the hospital during the holidays. Ana’s eldest son, Alexander, remembered a visit to Rady Children’s that year for a broken femur.
Ana reached out to her husband, Tony, and the Gillespie Children’s School, where the boys were students at the time. Everyone was on board, and an annual tradition was born as new, unwrapped toys were collected and delivered to Rady Children's for the patients.
Over the years, as Kidz USA began to grow in popularity, the Steigerwalds decided to kick it up a notch and start collecting toys year-round. In the summer of 2010, UCSD’s Knock Around Camps supported Kidz USA by donating 300 additional toys.
“2011 is going to be an exciting year for Kidz USA as we embark on our first toy drive at Francis Parker School this spring,” says Ana. “Tony and I will continue to support our sons’ efforts in any way we can.” The Steigerwalds are very proud of their boy’s dedication to Kidz USA and their desire to think of others.
Alexander and his brother, Ephraim, continue their service to the Hospital by carrying on Kidz USA’s mission to provide toys for the kids. In the past eight years, Kidz USA has collected more than 10,500 toys for the Hospital. That’s an impressive number for two young boys who had a vision of donating a few of their Christmas gifts to kids who couldn’t be home for the holidays!