The season is here and the United States Marine Corps Reserve have begun the kick-off for the annual Toys for Tots campaign, and in some areas have already started, for their annual toy drive. The Marine’s mission for the drive is to collect new toys each year during the fourth quarter of each year, to distribute as Christmas presents to children in less than fortunate situations in local communities.
Around the country throughout the month of October into the beginning of November, collection sites start opening with volunteers receiving the much-needed gifts. Many times, collection sites are located at Toys “R” Us or Babies “R” Us locations. Toys “R” Us has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots program for 11 years. Since 2004, Toys “R” Us has collected four million toys and raised more $35.5 million for the program.
The toys donated are meant to stay in the local communities to put smiles on the faces of the less fortunate children each Christmas. Which, for a nationwide program, is an important detail for the communities. For 60 years the program has been working in communities across the nation to help bring Christmas to children in need.
One Toy’s for Tots program in Honesdale, Pennsylvania, lost their warehouse home after moving out last year. After the program had finished for Christmas 2013, the Wayne and Pike county program had packed up and moved out of the warehouse they used each year. Soon after moving out until the next season, the warehouse burned to the ground and Toys for Tots was without a home. However, a local brewery awaiting their brewery license offered their building for the program this year, ensuring the community would still have the Toys for Tots campaign.
In Reno, Nevada, the Battle Born Detachment 672 of the Marine Corps League had a set back hit them as they were preparing for this year’s Toys for Tots program. On Tuesday the 672 Commander noticed the trailer they use for the program was gone. In the trailer were a number of toys left over from last year and items used by the Purple Heart Organization and items used by other programs the 672 are involved in. The program will go on however. The Marines will adapt and have set up multiple pick up locations for this years program. Members of the 672 are being recruited to transport the collected toys to the distribution site.
The trailer, a 4×6 Carry-On cargo trailer, is adorned with Marine Corps logos. It appears that thieves snapped the lock off to steal the trailer. 672 Commandant Don Enea said, “this hurts a lot of kids.”
Through the struggles of this years kick-off to the Toys for Tots program, the Marines will deliver. Throughout the country, children will benefit from the program as long as the Marines and community stand up for the program and cause, not letting any little setback slow them down. The program dates vary from community to community. Some programs may end around Thanksgiving while another may go right up to Christmas. To find a local chapter, the Toys for Tots website provides information about dates and locations for locations around the country.
By Carl Auer