Apply to receive toys

Applications for the 2023 Toy Depot which will take place on Dec. 13-14, will be available on November 7, 2023. The application deadline is midnight on Dec. 7, 2023.

Submit an application

How does Empty Stocking Club work?

In early November, a link to the application form is sent to area schools, social workers and service agencies for parents to sign up to receive toys and books. The form is simple and does not require a lot of verification or paperwork. Children 16 and under (turning 16 in the current year) are eligible.

The deadline to sign up to receive toys and books is December 7.

After December 7, a paper Toy Voucher is mailed or e-mailed  to all the families who applied. In mid-December there are two days of an in-person toy and book distribution at the Alliant Energy Center.

Families come in with their Toy Voucher, the Toy Voucher is scanned and the parents, primary guardian or authorized proxy pick out one new toy and book per child. The toys and books are bagged and the parents take them home and can wrap them up to put under the tree.

The Process

How to receive a toy from Empty Stocking Club

Apply now
Submit your application

Register your age-eligible child(ren) starting in November each year. You can apply online, or application forms are available from area schools, social workers, and service agencies.

Receive your Toy Voucher

In early December, a Toy Voucher is sent out to all applying families via paper voucher and/or e-mail.

Visit the Toy Depot

With your Toy Voucher in-hand, come to the Toy Depot at Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Toy and book distribution happens over two days in mid-December each year.

Pick out a toy and book for your child(ren)

One parent, primary guardian, or authorized proxy can pick out one new toy and one book per registered child. The toys and books are scanned and bagged at the Toy Depot, and are then ready to take home to wrap and put under the tree.

The next Toy Depot Event will be

December 13-14, 2023

8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin

Apply for a toy
See event details
Questions about Applying?

Here are some questions about the Empty Stocking Club application and registration process we commonly get from families wishing to receive toys

If I registered in previous years, am I automatically registered for the current year?

No, you must apply and submit a new registration each year. Not everyone automatically needs Empty Stocking Club each year, and our event aims to address the needs of the current year.

What ages of children can I receive toys for?

Families may select one toy for each of their children ages 0-16. In partnership with the United Way, we are continuing the addition of the Teen Gift Holiday Drive to our toy distribution program. Families are now invited to register all of their children through the age of 16.

Am I still eligible to receive toys for my children if I've received some in previous years?

Yes. Previous participation in Empty Stocking Club does not prohibit anyone from participating in subsequent years.

What if I want to get toys for my grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc.?

Parents or guardians who have primary guardianship of children are eligible to receive one toy and one book for each registered child. If someone other than the parent or guardian is picking up toys, they must have the voucher for those children signed by the parent.

How many toys can I get?

Family members may select one toy and one book for each child verified on their voucher.

Can each parent or guardian pick a toy for a child?

The Empty Stocking Club provides one new toy and one new book per child, not a toy per parent to give out. The application process captures the names of parents or primary guardians and names and birthdates of their children to avoid duplication.

How do I sign my child(ren) up to receive a toy?

Families must register to participate in the Empty Stocking Club by filling out an application. Applications ask for basic information about parents or primary guardians along with the first names and ages of each child in the family age 16 and under. Applications are distributed via schools and community organizations and can also be submitted online.

When and where is the Toy Depot?

The 2023 Empty Stocking Club Toy Depot will take place from 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13 and Thursday, December 14 at the Alliant Energy Center Exhibition Hall in Madison, Wisconsin.

Can I register onsite? What if I forgot to register and the deadline has passed?

You may register your child(ren) onsite at the Alliant Energy Center from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 13 or Thursday, December 14 by bringing in a photo ID, something showing your current address and birth certificates or something else showing the date of birth for your children being registered. On-site registration may require additional time, depending on lines.