On November 9, more than 300 tow trucks lined up outside of Hollywood Casino in Joliet. These trucks participated in the seventh annual Worldwide Equipment Sales Tow Trucks for Tots parade. Tow Trucks for Tots is a not-for-profit organization created by Worldwide Equipment Sales, LLC, and local towing companies. The mission of Tow Trucks for Tots is to help less fortunate children in the community, which has led to three goals for the program.
The primary goal of the Tow Trucks for Tots parade is to bring a much-needed toy to a deserving child. Last year, the event collected 5,620 pounds of toys. These toys are primarily donated to local charities, shelters, individuals, and food pantries. Some of the toys are also given to two Chicago area charities: the Walter and Connie Payton Foundation and the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter. The Walter and Connie Payton Foundation helps underprivileged children throughout Illinois through programs designed to boost self-esteem and provide them with the tools to live successful lives. The members of the NFL Alumni Chicago Chapter support the community by giving toys to children who have to be in the hospital during the Christmas season.
The second goal of the event is to enhance the image of the towing industry. The drivers are so enthusiastic about this event that many of them arrive the night before the parade, while others start lining up at 5 am. Towers from all over the state of Illinois as well as the surrounding states make the trip to Joliet to participate in this event. Last year, one tower traveled 796 miles from Atco, New Jersey. Another company from Downers Grove, Illinois, had 14 trucks participating in the parade. There is also a contest held for best decorated truck. All of the drivers enjoy participating in this event, and they feel good about helping their community.
The last goal for the parade is to break the Guinness World Record for largest tow truck parade. The parade accomplished this goal in its first year when 239 trucks participated in the event. The following year, the parade beat the first year’s
record with a total of 309 trucks and to this day holds the Guinness Book of World Records for 324 tow trucks. Each year, the event continues to grow as companies go the extra mile to collect toys and ensure that children in the Joliet area can have a happy holiday.
The parade route is 45 miles long. Staging begins at 5 am at Hollywood Casino, which is located at 777 Hollywood Blvd. in Joliet, Illinois. When the trucks reach the ending location at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois, the toys that the drivers have collected are unloaded into semi trucks for distribution. All of the drivers are then given a commemorative Tow Trucks for Tots shirt and are treated to lunch and a ive band.
If you would like to make a toy donation, please remember that all toys must be new and unwrapped. Check the website, www.TowTrucksForTots.com, for more details.