Volunteer Program

Community Service Projects

Launched in 2018, ASTRA's volunteer program aims to make an impact by giving back to our host city, Pittsburgh, by supporting the local community. Whether you prefer to get your hands dirty during our park cleanup or take a break from the trade show to stuff back-to-school backpacks, we're maximizing our impact with several community service projects throughout Marketplace & Academy and hope you'll lend a hand!

Pittsburgh Schools Need Your Help:

  • 51% Pittsburgh Public School (PPS) students are federally eligible for free or reduced-price lunch
  • The four Pennsylvania school districts with the highest percentage of students living in poverty are in Pittsburgh
  • District-wide, 65% of students are designated as economically disadvantaged by the state Department of Education, but that number is above 80% at some schools
  • In 2019, PPS received 1,383 requests for homeless and foster care services for students

These volunteer efforts will directly impact students across multiple schools. We want to thank you in advance for your support!

Park Clean Up

When: Saturday, June 8
Time: 1:00pm - 5:00pm
Meeting Place: David L. Lawrence Convention Center
Who: Open to Everyone

Register Now!

Come in early and volunteer for our park clean up project and spend the afternoon with your peers revitalizing Pittsburgh. Volunteers will be tasked with various activities, such as planting, invasive plant removal, trash removal from the stream and more. Join industry peers in a fun afternoon of giving back on Saturday, June 8th. 

Organization: Nine Mile Run Watershed Association

Mission: Nine Mile Run Watershed Association restores and protects its watershed ecosystem, while working regionally to support and implement resilient solutions for a healthy urban environment.

Project Location: Frick Park

Scope: Willow planting, invasive plant removal and trash removal from the stream 

Distance from the Convention Center: 15-20 minutes 

Things to Note: This park located close to the Squirrel Hill neighborhood and the Tree of Life Synagogue 

Thank you to our Supporting Partner:

Register Now!   

Backpack Stuffing

When: Monday, June 10 and Tuesday, June 11
Time: 9:30am - 5:00pm
Where: David L. Lawrence Convention Center 
Who: Open to Everyone

Fill a backpack with back-to-school supplies on the tradeshow floor! Volunteers will have the opportunity to include a personal note of encouragement along with a toy from supporting manufacturers which adds a special touch from their friends in the toy industry. ASTRA has a goal of filling 1,000 backpacks with over 10 items for back-to-school readiness on Monday and Tuesday of the tradeshow. Stop by the backpack stuffing area to stuff a backpack or two!

Thank you to our Supporting Partner:


Food Donation

ASTRA will be partnering with the David L. Lawrence Concention Center to donate leftover food from meal functions to Jubilee Kitchen and 412 Food Rescue. 

Important note: Please do not attempt to donate leftover food items on your own from ASTRA meal functions. We have a great partnership program setup to ensure food donations are handled in a safe and equitable manner.

Toy Donation

ASTRA will be partnering with Good360 to give back to the local community by donating toys, games, school supplies and juvenile products to underprivileged children and families in need. Exhibitors who are interested in donating should follow the steps below.

To donate:
  1. Sign up to donate at the GES on-site service desk located inside the exhibit hall during the show.
  2. Receive stickers to be placed on donated products and a donation form for tax purposes. 
  3. During exhibitor move-out, label all donated products with the provided stickers.
  4. Bring donated items to the designated area near the GES service desk or leave in your booth space separate from your return shipment. It is important to clearly separate any donations from your outbound shipment.
All products remaining in the exhibit hall after 10pm on Wednesday, June 12 that are not marked for return shipment will be donated.

Other M&A events of interest:


Positive Learning Environment

"Establishing a space where students can learn is good but creating a space that students can feel comfortable is even more significant. A positive learning environment can have a great impact on a student’s success."

Theodore Nathan, Executive Director of NetWork Volunteers

Welcome Reception

The specialty toy industry's biggest party of the year!


New Member Breakfast

Get to know ASTRA and our All-Star members at this breakfast designed to help you make the most of M&A!


Game Night

Try out Marketplace's newest games, enjoy food & drinks, and play with your specialty industry friends at this hands-on demo event.