2022 Wink Alliance Announcement!

Official Press Release

June 24, 2022




How one shop dog inspires a line of toys to help kids in central Illinois


Bloomington, IL – As Gingerbread House Toys celebrates its 50th Anniversary, Special Olympics Illinois has been named the third recipient of the toy store's annual giving program, the Wink Alliance!  


Named after their famous shop dog Wink, the Gingerbread House Toys initiative selects one local non-profit to be the sole recipient of all proceeds from the sale of a limited-edition toy, inspired by Wink, and co-branded with the supported organization.


This year Wink couldn't resist partnering with Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty to develop his own specially branded tin filled with glittery putty!


Buy Wink Thinking Putty Here!


For years, Gingerbread House Toys has supported local non-profits. But in 2020 they decided they wanted to make a bigger impact, by focusing on one organization at a time, in a way that kept kids at the center. Last year, Gingerbread House Toys and the Wink Alliance raised $12,500 for Child Protection Network, and in 2020 they raised over $13,750 for Marcfirst.


This year the Wink Alliance is thrilled to partner with Special Olympics Illinois!


If you've never experienced Crazy Aaron's Thinking Putty then you're in for a treat. This is not the putty you might remember from your childhood! Crazy Aaron's is a high-quality, silicone-based putty that is safe, nontoxic, and will never dry out.




"We are so excited to partner with the Wink Alliance as well as Crazy Aaron’s Thinking Putty. Special Olympics Illinois strives to build strong, more inclusive communities, across the state, and across the world," said Michelle Mayer, Director, Marketing & Communication, Special Olympics Illinois. "That starts right here where we live and work, with community partners like these. Here’s to everyone getting stronger while they play and grow more with their new tin of putty!”



For the Wink Alliance, Crazy Aaron's designed a custom tin featuring the famous shop dog Wink from Gingerbread House Toys, as well as the Wink Alliance Logo, and the Special Olympics Illinois logo on the cover. The putty inside the tin is Wink's favorite color... celebration glitter! Wink loves every color and couldn't choose!


The new Wink Putty is only $15.99 and available beginning Friday, June 24, 2022 in-store and through the Gingerbread House Toys online store at shop.gingerbreadhousetoys.com. All proceeds will benefit Special Olympics Illinois.


Going beyond their slogan of “Play more, Grow more!”, Gingerbread House Toys and Special Olympics Illinois both hope the community will come together and “give more” this summer! Programs through Special Olympics Illinois are completely free to participants and their families, so your support gives more kids and more adults the opportunity to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families.


Who knew we could all do that through one inspirational shop dog?


Watch the official announcement video featuring Gingerbread House Toys owner Kate Greene, Michelle Mayer, and Wink!



Support Special Olympics Illinois Today!


About Gingerbread House Toys


Gingerbread House Toys has been sparking imaginations and delighting children since 1972. Over the years it has become the go-to destination for families, caregivers, and children searching for fun, interesting, high-quality educational toys in Central Illinois. The store’s founder, Tami Jarecki, believed in the power of play to stimulate children’s minds. The shop grew and evolved, moving from her home into an original Victorian gingerbread-style house on Hannah Street.


In 2012, the store changed hands and was purchased by three sisters from Bloomington who had been raised on toys from the original store. Kate, Nikki, and Beki Greene had always loved coming into this magical space as children and were excited for the opportunity to not only continue the traditions of before, but also to offer exciting and innovative products, services, and events. In 2017, the sisters moved into the Foundry shopping district on Washington Street, nestled near Bloomington Cycle and Fitness, Coffee Hound 3, and Green Top Grocery.


At the core of Gingerbread House Toys is the belief that when children play, they’re doing more than having fun, they’re learning and growing, which is why fun toys with an educational angle are abundantly available in their store. On their website, you can learn more about the purpose of play as a method to improve creative and cognitive abilities, gross and fine motor skills, emotional, language, and social skills, as well as improve spatial reasoning.


About Special Olympics Illinois

Special Olympics began in Illinois with the first games at Soldier Field in July 1968 thanks to the efforts of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and her peers. There are now more than 4.5 million athletes in 170 countries. Special Olympics Illinois supports over 23,000 athletes, 48,000 volunteers, 201 competitions a year, and 18 olympic-type sports across 11 regions in the state. Their programming includes competitive sports, health programming and leadership opportunities.


  • MISSION: Provide year-round sports training and athletic competition in a variety of Olympic-type sports for children and adults with intellectual disabilities, giving them continuing opportunities to develop physical fitness, demonstrate courage, experience joy and participate in a sharing of gifts, skills and friendship with their families, other Special Olympics athletes and the community.
  • VISION: Special Olympics Illinois (SOILL) will be a global leader in shaping a culture where people with and without intellectual disabilities are fully integrated into the community by providing year round opportunities in competitive sports, health education, leadership and personal development.
  • ATHLETE OATH: “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.”


Special Olympics is financially sound with diverse revenue streams, a thorough annual budget process and increasing organizational revenue streams. Special Olympics Illinois does not charge athletes or their families to participate in the program.




Contact Information

Local organizations that are interested in participating in the Wink Alliance in the future should fill out the contact form on the website.


Email Jessica Shull at jess@joshuaonenine.media

Gingerbread House Toys | Marketing & Advertising


Email Michelle Mayer at mmayer@soill.org or call at 309-830-5868

Special Olympics Illinois | Director of Marketing & Communications