This holiday season, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program celebrates its 75th year of delivering hope and joy to children in need across the Nation. U.S. Marines and volunteers will conduct more than 830 local toy collection and distribution campaigns in all 50 states, Washington, D.C., Puerto Rico, Guam, and U.S. Virgin Islands.
In honor of the anniversary, Toys for Tots will highlight our extraordinary Reserve Marines, past and present, and show how the generosity from communities across the Nation has enabled Toys for Tots to support more than 281 million children in need.
Every campaign season, Marines and volunteers engage with local businesses, media, and individuals in communities across the country to collect new, unwrapped toys and distribute these gifts to less fortunate children.
“The mission of Marine Toys for Tots is to bring the joy of Christmas to less fortunate children with the goal of delivering a message of hope that will inspire youngsters to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens,” says Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. “Now, in Toys for Tots’ 75th year, we are asking our supporters to make this important milestone another record-breaking year. It is our goal to deliver the magic of the holidays to every family seeking holiday help from Marine Toys for Tots,” he adds.
The Marine Toys for Tots Program began in 1947 at the helm of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks and his wife, Diane, who asked Major Hendricks to deliver some handcrafted dolls to an agency that supported children in need. When he could not find such an agency, Diane encouraged her husband to “start one.” That year, Major Hendricks and the Marines in his local Reserve unit collected more than 5,000 toys to deliver to children in need in the Los Angeles area — conducting the first Toys for Tots campaign.
Seeing the impact that delivering toys to children in need had created around the community, the following year, the Commandant of the Marine Corps, General Clifton B. Cates, directed every Marine Corps Reserve unit to implement a Toys for Tots campaign– which transformed Toys for Tots into a National Community Action Program.
Last year, the Program fulfilled the holiday hopes and dreams of 8.7 million less fortunate children in over 830 communities Nationwide. Now, in our 75th year, the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program also provides support year-round to families experiencing challenges and exceptional circumstances, thus providing assistance to millions of children in need across the country at Christmas time and beyond. Help Toys for Tots provide hope and joy this holiday season to millions of impoverished children who otherwise might go without. After all, anyone can be Santa!
This year’s holiday campaign season kicks off on November 1 and goes through December 25.
Visit toysfortots.org for more information or to find a campaign near you. Learn how you can help the Marine Toys for Tots Program bring hope and joy to children in need across the Nation!