• Employer – U.S. Army Central California Recruiting Battalion
  • Industry – Military
  • Date – 2023

The U.S. Army Central California Recruiting Battalion consists of 6 different recruiting companies and 33 recruiting stations that cover an area of approximately 48,549 square miles from San Francisco in the north to Santa Barbara in the south, and from the Pacific Coast to the border of Nevada. As the digital & social media manager of the battalion, my job was to oversee the annual community relations campaign called the 2023 U.S. Army Toy Drive.


The overall campaign was based on the U.S. Army’s Soldier & Family Assistance Program which works with the non-profit called Operation Homefront. The organization provides relief and recurring family support programs and services throughout the year to help military families overcome short-term difficulties, so they don’t become long-term hardships. They provide everything from canned goods to school supplies, and toys during Christmas. Once the battalion was taken care of, we had an extra 1,800 toys.


Having overseen last year’s toy drive and through personal contacts, I expanded this year’s drive from one organization to three different organizations. I chose Valley Children’s Hospital Child Life Program, Boys & Girls Club of Sequoias, and The Open-Door Network, a non-profit organization helping homeless people. There was no budget as toys were donated and the timeline was November to December of 2023


From there, my goals were to;

  • Build a relationship a relationship with all three organizations by donating toys to each.
  • Gain positive local brand awareness for the battalion within the Central Valley.

Below are the tactics that were used.

  • Social Media: I created a social media post after the donation that showed U.S. Army recruiters donating toys to each of the organizations. I then strategically shared that post on 16 different Facebook and Instagram accounts within the Central Valley.
  • Social Media Influencer: I had Valley Children’s Hospital share photos from the donation to their followers on their Facebook account (62K followers).
  • Event Management & Logistics: After speaking with both Fresno and Bakersfield Recruiting Company leadership, I organized a one-day trip where I drove with 1,200 toys in my car from Bakersfield to Fresno, where I met with local recruiters in each city at each of the organizations.
  • Event Photography: At each toy drop-off, I met with local recruiters, and had them take photos with each organization’s representatives.
  • Media Relations: After the event, I pitched local media in both the Fresno and Bakersfield area.

Below were the final results.

Community Relations: we were able to donate 400 toys each to each organization. An extra surprise was The Open-Door Network wants to work together with the local Bakersfield Army Recruiters. So, by donating toys to them, we were able to open a new contact in Bakersfield.


Media Relations: A large media outlet called KMPH Fox26 was able to cover the event and post on their website a few days before Christmas.


Overall, it was a very successful event. The Battalion Commander was very happy with the results and we are already making plans to make the donation event bigger this year.


This campaign won an award in 2024.

  • Public Relations Society of America “Image Awards” – Award of Excellence: Community Relations