Independence Blue Cross is giving 1,000 toys to the struggling Philadelphia Toys for Tots campaign, and in addition will match each new donation up to a total of 2,500.

That could quickly bring 6,000 toys to the annual program, where donations are down almost 80 percent this year.

Eagles quarterback Michael Vick is joining the effort, too - appearing at 3 p.m. Friday at Engine Company 16, at 1517 Belmont Ave., to encourage people to donate.

"I talked to Mike about it, and he's like, 'Santa has to come to Philly this year,' " said Vick spokesman Chris Shigas.

Officials at IBC, the region's largest health insurer, said Thursday that they wanted to help lead a final holiday push to put toys in the hands of needy children. The courtyard at the firm's Center City offices, at 1901 Market St., is now a collection point for new, unwrapped toys.

Company officials said they also are reaching out to thousands of business partners and leaders, including the Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, to try to drive up donations in the days before Christmas.

So far, only about 25,000 toys have been given to Toys for Tots, run by the U.S. Marines, which last year delivered more than 113,000.

"The Marines have always been there for us as a country. We as a business community should be there for them," said Daniel Hilferty, president and chief executive officer of IBC. He sees Toys for Tots as an integral part of the local holiday season, the same as the light show at Macy's or the Comcast Holiday Spectacular.

Hilferty planned to go out Thursday night to buy some toys to donate - including a Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots game.

"If you have the capacity to give, please do," Marine Staff Sgt. Marc Palos, coordinator for the city Toys for Tots chapter, said in a statement. "With only 10 days until the holiday, our donation crisis has never been clearer."

Toys can be dropped off at IBC through 6 p.m. Wednesday. They also can be delivered to any Philadelphia fire station, or to Toys R Us stores on Cottman Avenue, South Third Street, Aramingo Avenue, and Franklin Mills Circle.

A list of additional area drop-off locations, and a link for monetary donations, can be found at www.ibx.com.

Contact staff writer Jeff Gammage at 215-854-2415, jgammage@phillynews.com, or on Twitter @JeffGammage.