4th Grader Gives Toys to Children in Honor of Her Fallen Military Dad — Meet Lily Bonacasa

Lily Bonacasa is a 9-year-old girl who created a non-profit called “Lily’s Toy House” which donates toys to children in need as a way to honor her late father.

A 9-year-old girl is a reason why many children’s Christmas dreams are coming true. Lily Bonacasa started a non-profit, “Lily’s Toy House” to donate toys to children in need as a way to honor her late father.

"Today’s" Savannah Guthrie met with Lily, her mom, and her aunt to discuss the inspiration behind “Lily’s Toy House," which had raised $10,000  in the last two years to fulfill the Christmas wish lists of children in Lily’s area. 

Lily and the "Today" host spent timing shopping at the iconic New York toy store, FAO Schwartz, as Lily was picking out gifts to complete the wish lists – she had planned to use money from the non-profit’s funds. 

However, at the cash register, Guthrie shared that the big toy store would be donating all the toys she had chosen and could use her funds for even more toys, the host said

“I have a little surprise for you, Fao Schwartz is giving you all these toys.”

Lily Bonacasa in an interview for her toy non-profit this December. |Photo: Today

Lily Bonacasa in an interview for her toy non-profit this December. |Photo: Today

Lily’s dad, Staff Sergent Louis Bonacasa as well as five other servicemen had been killed during their deployment in Afghanistan by a suicide attack while they had been on patrol near the Bagram airbase. 

He had passed away on what would have been his last deployment as he had planned to retire after it was completed. Lily had just celebrated her 5th birthday when her dad died. 

Lily is not the only one sharing the Christmas spirit with people in need, the Today network showed the workings of “Toys for Tots”. 

Lily with her mom and aunt during the Today interview this December. | Photo: Today

Lily with her mom and aunt during the Today interview this December. | Photo: Today

Lily had started her non-profit to honor her dad as he had given so much for the country. This was a way for her to give back to her community, too. 

Lily shared in her interview with "Today" why she had started the toy donation non-profit as she realized that although she had a “nice” Christmas each year, other children did not, saying

“In my heart, it just told me “you get Christmas, and you have a nice Christmas and look at these other kids, they are not having anything.” ”

Lily giving out gifts at a local pre-school in New York this December. | Photo: Today

Lily giving out gifts at a local pre-school in New York this December. | Photo: Today

Lily is not the only one sharing the Christmas spirit with people in need, the "Today" network showed the workings of “Toys for Tots,” a New York-based toy donations organization that had been impacted by the coronavirus.

The organization usually ran about 100 toy drives in previous years but due to the pandemic, it has only been able to host 12 drives. The non-profit then set up a virtual toy drive. 

Toy For Tots Virtual Toy Box” allows people to select a toy from the site and buy it for a child in need. Jenna Bush Hager shared that the toy company Hasbro would be donating 200,000 toys.

The work from Lily and “Toy For Tots” as well as a few others, such as a school teacher from New Jersey, will definitely make the lives of thousands of kids and their parents a little brighter this Christmas after what has been a very stressful year.

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