Heads up! Our holiday party this year will once again have a collection for Toys for Tots. If you wish to make a donation, bring a new, unwrapped toy to our year end chapter meeting on November 8, and the Marines will take it from there.
If you’re unfamiliar with Toys for Tots, it’s an effort created by the US Marine Corps Reserve to provide gifts for underprivileged children during the holidays. Their objective is to assist with the development of children for the benefit of them, their families and our nation’s future.
Over the 62 years of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children. This charitable endeavor has made U. S. Marines the unchallenged leader in looking after less fortunate children at Christmas. Over its 18 year life span, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has supplemented local toy collections with more than 81.3 million toys valued at more than $487 million; plus has provided promotion and support materials valued at over $6.3 million.
Toys for Tots began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came form Bill’s wife, Diane in the fall of 1947, when she crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill couldn’t find one, Diane told him that he should start one. His 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign. That year, Marine Corps Reserve units across the nation conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in each community in which a Marine Reserve Center was located. Marines have conducted successful nationwide campaigns at Christmas each year since 1948. The initial objective that remains the hallmark of the program today is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children.”
Bill Hendricks, a Marine Reservist on weekends, was in civilian life the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio which enabled him to convince a vast array of celebrities to support Toys for Tots. In 1948, Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo, which we use today. More information on Toys for Tots can be found at ToysforTots.org.