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Zynga gives back: Holiday charity drive for kids

Say what you like about Zynga (and I know you will), but this holiday season, the casual gaming giant is making an effort to raise money for kids charities. Titled "Oh, What Fun!", the company's charitable branch (Zynga.org) is running in-game drives to raise money for Toys for Tots. The plan is to "give the gift of play" to less-fortunate children across the United States.

The drive starts November 8th and runs all the way to December 31st, and gamers will be able to contribute directly through in-game purchases.

Oh, What Fun!

Oh, What Fun!

What's featured? Here's the full list - and remember, 100% of the purchase price for selected items will go directly to Toys for Tots

FarmVille

  • Farmers send your neighbors some holiday cheer with the cheer-ewe-up horse ($1) and in return receive a festive holiday teddy tree to decorate your farm.
  • Availability: Pastures are open for grazing from November 28 to December 5, 2012.

CityVille

  • Deck your city halls by completing toy crafting quests where you make, wrap and sell gifts to kids for the holiday, prices range from $1 to $10.
  • Availability: Toy shop is open from November 29 to December 31, 2012.

CastleVille

  • Bedazzle your castle and medieval landscape with three sparkling animated holiday accents: candy cane ($1), snow villa ($5) or royal tower ($15).
  • Availability: The fairy tale runs from November 29 to December 31, 2012.

Words With Friends

  • In between your triple word scores send a text message from your mobile phone to donate to Toys for Tots. Text keyword TOTS to 501501 to donate $5* or GIFTto donate $10**.
  • Availability: Tell all your friends to text from December 1 to December 31, 2012.

Draw Something

  • In between creating your masterpiece, make a donation to Toys for Tots by sending a text message! Send keyword TOYS to 501501 to donate $5* or text JOYto donate $10**.
  • Availability: The art show is open from December 1 to December 31, 2012.

Bubble Safari

  • Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell Pop! Pop your way through the holidays with Bubbles the monkey by purchasing three packages of power-ups, energy, and currency, prices range from $1 to $20.
  • Availability: Keep the bubbles popping from December 3 to December 31, 2012.

Pioneer Trail

  • Discover and open a Toys for Tots mystery box for six possible critters to purchase, prices range from $4 to $5.
  • Availability: The trail-loop runs December 17 to December 31, 2012.

Over the years, Zynga fans have made more than 2.5 million contributions to charitable organisations - while playing video games. This adds up to more than $13 million, given to groups helping those in need, including international relief agencies following the Japan tsunami and Haiti earthquake.

Toys for Tots is a not-for-profit organisation authorised by the US Marine Corps, which provides fundraising and support to the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. It's been giving gifts of toys and books to disadvantaged children for 65 Christmases now, with no sign of slowing down.

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I like video games and music and cups of tea and noodles and beagles and colour-cycling LEDs.
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