Toys For Tots
Thank you! Thank you! Thank You! The 2016 Toys For Tots drive is in the books.
*As the filled boxes were picked up, we ended up having to store the toys on the floor in a back room as they came in. It got to the point where it was near impossible to count how many boxes we would have filled.
The History of Toys For Tots
Toys for tots Began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill’s wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane 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 determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.
The initial objective that remains the hallmark of the program today is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children”.
From Christmas 1980 through the present, Marines have collected and distributed only new toys. Three factors dictated this change. First, the Secretary of Defense’s Total Force Program, introduced in the 1970’s, assigned Reserves a greater role in America’s defense posture. As a consequence, Reservists had to dedicate every minute of weekend drill time to honing and polishing combat skills. No time was available to refurbish toys. Second, public awareness of the health and safety aspects of toys that developed during the ‘70s made distribution of used toys legally inadvisable. Third, distributing “hand me down” toys does not send the message Marines want to send to needy children. The goal is to deliver a message of hope, which will assist in building self-esteem and, in turn, motivate less fortunate children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. A shiny new toy is the best means of accomplishing this goal.
In the late 1980's, the Marine Corps determined that a non-profit charity was needed as an integral part of the overall national Toys for Tots program. Based on this need, the Secretary of Defense, in August 1991, authorized the Marine Corps to recognize and work with a charity committed to supporting Toys for Tots. Based on this approval, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation became an operational organization in September 1991 and has been the fundraising and support organization for the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program since that date.
Over its life span, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has distributed more than 512 million toys to more than 237 million less fortunate children.