Toy Depot

The Empty Stocking Club Toy Depot is our annual two-day event, held at the Alliant Energy Center in Madison, Wisconsin, where we distribute toys and books to registered families.

The 2023 Toy Depot will take place on Wednesday, December 13 and Thursday, December 14 from 8:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at the Alliant Energy Center.

How it works

What to expect when you arrive at the Toy Depot

Applications for 2023 will open on Nov. 7 and the application deadline is Dec. 7.
Check in at Registration

You will check in at the Registration area when you arrive at the Expo Hall at Alliant Energy Center. Follow the signs to Empty Stocking Club.

At Registration, you will be asked to show your voucher (paper version or electronic) and it will be scanned. If you do not have a voucher, you will need to register on site. Please have identification for yourself, along with proof of current address and birth certificates (or other proof of birth date) for children for whom you would like to get a toy.

Wait for your turn to shop

You will be given a number and invited to wait in the waiting area until your number is called.

Please note that, depending on the time of day and how busy it is, there may be a wait. If time is a factor, in previous years, noon to 3:00 p.m. has seemed less busy.

Shop and select your toys and books

When your number is called, a volunteer shopper will meet you at the door and accompany you to the age-appropriate toys and books for your children. You may select one age-appropriate toy and one book for each of your children.

Check out

Once you select your toys from the display area, a shopping assistant will accompany you to the check-out, where your toys and books will be scanned and bagged for you before you depart.

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 the Toy Depot?

Here are some questions we commonly get about the Toy Depot and logistics around our toy and book distribution event.

How are toys selected for my children?

Parents or guardians select a toy and book for each child. You will be escorted through the Toy Depot by a volunteer "personal shopper" who can answer questions, swap toys out if you change your mind, and help you take home the toy and book you think best fits each of your children.

If I miss the Toy Depot, can I still pick up a toy for my child(ren)?

Toys are only able to be distributed during the Toy Depot. After that time, toys are in storage and are not accessible.

Where do all the toys that are given away come from?

Thanks to generous contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations, the majority of the toys are purchased by Wisconsin Youth Services, the charitable foundation of the Wisconsin State Journal, from area retailers. Donations can be made online or by mailing a check to the Wisconsin State Journal Youth Services, 1901 Fish Hatchery Rd., Madison, WI 53713.

What if the toy I want for my child is in a different age category?

We strive to build a toy inventory that matches the ages of children who are registered. While there are no specific guidelines about which toys can be selected for each child, we ask that parents/guardians select toys within a general, age-appropriate range.

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.

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.

What if I cannot be present to pick up a toy for my child(ren) from the Toy Depot? Can someone else pick up for me?

You may designate a proxy to pick up toys for your children. The proxy must have a copy of the voucher signed by you and bring identification.