Sunday, December 22

Looking for a few good toys

One of the things Momma has enjoyed most this holiday season is helping people with their Toys for Tots purchases.

In the past three weeks she has seen everything from a woman specifically coming in to buy one single toy to donate in the bin at the front of the store, to ringing up toys totaling $4,000 for coordinators in northern Arizona.

Momma said she has seen collection bins for as long as she can remember, but it surprised her to find out Toys for Tots originated with the United States Marine Corps Reserve back in 1947.

Toys for Tots, now a
501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity located in Triangle, Virg., began as a Los Angeles charitable effort in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, was inspired by his wife Diane when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but could find no organization to do so.

At her suggestion, he gathered a group of local Marine reservists who coordinated and collected about 5,000 toys for local children that year from collection bins placed outside of Warner Bros. movie theaters.

Their efforts were so successful that, in 1948, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign. Hendricks used his position as director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio to enlist celebrity support, as well as have Walt Disney Studios design the red toy train logo.

Marine reservists and volunteers collected and refurbished used toys until 1979. In 1980, only new toys were accepted, as reservists were no longer able to dedicate drill hours to refurbish toys, as well as legal concerns and the mixed message of giving hand-me-downs as a message of hope.

As of 2013, the Toys for Tots Program and Foundation have collected and distributed more than 469 million toys.

This article incorporates material from the
United States Marine Corps Reserve.


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