This On-Demand Delivery App Lets You Donate a Toy Just By Taking a Photo

PHOTO: Shipster CEO Christian Vizcaino and co-founder Thomas Maher pose with donated toys.Christian Vizcaino
Shipster CEO Christian Vizcaino and co-founder Thomas Maher pose with donated toys.

In a city that never sleeps and certainly likes having items at their fingertips, there's one app called Shipster that is making giving back fun and simple this holiday season.

Shipster, a New York City-based on-demand shipping company, covers Manhattan and Brooklyn, 24/7 and allows you to ship items anywhere in the world.

Here's how the app works: Instead of going to a post office or a shipping facility, open up the Shipster app, take a picture of the item you want shipped, enter the approximate weight, and voila! In about 20 minutes, an agent picks up your item and allows you to track its every move -- while it is packed, shipped and delivered.

Using the app "was super, super easy," Mikel Ashkin, 24, of New York City, told ABC News. "The fact that you can just take a picture, put the weight in and put two addresses in ... and not have to think about anything else is perfect."

To spread some holiday cheer this season, the start-up is also making it easier to do a good deed with its Operation Santa campaign, by delivering toys to charities in New York City, such as "Toys for Tots" and "New Alternatives for Children."

PHOTO: Shipster users could donate toys by taking a picture of the items they want delivered to local charities.
Christian Vizcaino
Shipster users could donate toys by taking a picture of the items they want delivered to local charities.

"We decided a toy drive would be fun,” Shipster CEO Christian Vizcaino told ABC News. "[It] really aligns with what our capabilities are as a company because it’s moving typical goods. The toy drive -- it’s been forgotten a bit, and so we thought, 'Okay, let’s power a toy drive with our app!'”

By using the Shipster app, take a picture of the toys you want to donate, enter Santa’s name and address (1 N Santa Claus Lane, North Pole, AK 99705), and within minutes, an agent donning a Santa hat will appear at your door, and deliver the toys to underprivileged children.

“We wanted to do something really festive that brings a smile to kids’ faces ... aligns us with the holiday spirit and was really impactful,” Vizcaino said. “What we saw with meetings with some of these kids is amazing. We sort of forget the simple power of the gift of a toy and the joy that it can bring to a kid.”

Arlene Goldsmith, Executive Director at New Alternatives for Children (NAC), has been spearheading the NAC Holiday Party for about 27 years for children living in poverty and children with special healthcare needs -- giving children gifts, play games with them and dance.

PHOTO: Shipster CEO Christian Vizcaino spends time with a family from New Alternatives for Children.Steven Barrall
Shipster CEO Christian Vizcaino spends time with a family from New Alternatives for Children.

“The fact that they came to the party really meant a lot to me because that’s a wonderful thing,” Goldsmith told ABC News. “It’s a great thing that they did this because we really need toys to help our kids feel loved and appreciated. Every kid loves a toy."

Ashkin, who also used the app to donate toys from her company’s PR company to "Toys for Tots," said she also appreciated how involved Vizcaino and his team were in the donating process.

“I was blown away by how involved Christian was as well," Ashkin said. "I love this about startups -- that everyone is down and dirty ... [and] that he was that into his product.”

Who knows, maybe next year Shipster may give Santa a run for his money.