As the holidays are upon us and planning for Christmas arrives, it’s also time to think about doing something special for children in need. The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is again underway giving local residents an opportunity to purchase a toy for a boy and girl outside their family.
Toys for Tots started 70 years ago when Maj. Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and a group of Marine reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed more than 5,000 toys to needy children. Hendricks’ idea caught on and was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots the following year and expanded it into a nationwide program. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U.S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.
Today, Toys for Tots is the Marine Corps’ premier community action program and one of the nation’s flagship Christmas charitable causes. Toys for Tots is the only charitable endeavor within the Department of Defense which reaches outside the military establishment to give something back to the communities. Toys for Tots has enjoyed over a half century of success because of the support of millions of caring Americans, local communities, and corporate America plus the dedication and hard work of thousands of U.S. Marines. Toys for Tots is a program which brings all elements of a community together in a common cause for three months each year. It is a program dedicated to helping in the development of our nation’s most valuable natural resource: our children. The shiny new toy at Christmas lets these youngsters know that someone cares.
Toys for Tots collects only new toys. Organizers ask that toys brought to drop-off points be unwrapped so they can be sorted and given to the right child. Toys are to be appropriate for children from birth to 12 years. For a complete list of drop-off points, visit www.northatlanta.toysfortots.org.
This article originally appeared in the December issue of the EAST COBBER magazine, on page 14. Click HERE to access the digital edition.