December 5, 2007

The Marine Corps Toys for Tots Needs You!

715 Broadway Street P.O. Box 1947
Quantico, Virginia 22134-0847
(703) 640-9433

Celebrating their 60th Anniversary of giving in 2007, the U. S. Marine Reserves are once again collecting Toys for Tots. This is a terrific organization that gives hope to underprivileged children in the United States. We all see the collection sites around Marco Island and Naples Florida, but do we really know the rich history behind Toys for Tots?

The Marine Corps Reserves began a humble campaign in 1947 in Los Angeles California by Major Bill Hendricks (USMCR) collecting more than 5,000 toys to give in the Los Angels area. The Marine Corps has been collecting toys ever since. Bill Hendricks, a U. S. Marine Corps Reservist was the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio. This position enabled him to get many celebrities involved with Toys for Tots.

Celebrity involvement includes:
  • The original poster was designed by Walt Disney in 1948 along with the Train logo
  • Nat "King" Cole, Peggy Lee, and Vic Damone recorded the Toys for Tots theme composed by Sammy Fain and Paul Webster in 1956
  • Celebrity Spokespersons from the Entertainment Industry include: Frank Sinatra, Bob Hope, Johnny Carson, Charlie Daniels, Barbara Eden, Andy Griffith, Glen Campbell, and Tim Allen to name a few.

Today the Toys for Toys program has grown to a national campaign with more than 116 million children receiving over 231 toys over the past 60 years.

How Does The Toys For Tots Program Work?

The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve coordinates the collection of new, unwrapped presents and then coordinates delivery to appropriate agencies to identify and give the toys to needy children. You can assist the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve by:

  • Donating toys to a collection point in your community
  • Dropping off Cash and Check Donations at any UPS Store location
  • Volunteer and get involved in your community with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys For Tots Campaign

Why Only New Toys?

From 1947 to 1979 the U. S. Marine Corps Reserves collected new and used toys, spending time repairing used toys. In 1980 this practice changed because:

  • The Reservists were being used for Defense purposes and no longer had the time to repair toys
  • Public awareness to health and safety during the 70’s made distribution of used toys a legal issue
  • “Hand me down” toys did not send the message the Marines wanted to send to needy children – they wanted to deliver a message of hope. A shiny new toy was the best means of accomplishing their goal of building self-esteem and future community leaders

How Marco Island Residents Can Help?

The Marine Corps League of Naples has kicked off the 2007 Toys for Tots campaign in Pelican Bay, the largest contributor of both money and toys donations in Collier County.

Last year the Collier County community contributed over $20,000 and more than 8,000 toys to help the Marine Corps League collect 24,477 toys and raise over $30,000.

This year, the league has set about to increase the contributions of toys for the children ages 10 and up, an age group which generally has a shortfall each year. The league especially needs wheels — from tricycles to 20-inch bikes for the bigger kids.

Donations can be made by contacting Bob Kearns at 455-4725. The organization can also arrange for communities to receive toy collection boxes for the league to pick up.

Other Articles About Toys for Tots

Find Your Local Toys For Tots Donation Center
Toys for Tots 2007 SOP
How to Request Toys For Children in Need
Toys for Tots asks for donors to screen toys
Toys for Tots presented check during NBA game

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