As we come down to the Christmas wire, local Toys for Tots collection boxes are not filling up as quickly as in previous years. I guess it comes as no surprise, since many of us are stressing out enough this season just trying to keep a roof over our families’ heads and food on the table, let alone buy gifts for everyone. But we should consider ourselves blessed to have a roof, even if it leaks, and food on the table, even if it is just franks and beans, because so many people in the world have so much less.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not-for-profit organization that has distributed Christmas toys to needy children since 1947. Founded by Major Bill Hendricks and a group of Reservist volunteers, they gave away 5000 toys that year. Now, local campaigns are held annually in over 500 communities that cover all 50 states. Local drop-off sites collect toys until December 22, which are distributed on the 23rd and 24th. Toys are distributed to needy children within the community where the donations were made.
Toys for Tots requests new toys, for a few good reasons. When the Reservists were assigned a greater role in our national security in the 1970’s, volunteers had less time to repair and refurbish old, broken toys. In the same era, when toy safety became an issue, the foundation chose not to accept used or potentially unsafe toys that may have caused liability problems. And by giving children shiny new toys all their own, and not hand-me-downs, the foundation’s goal is “to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters…”
Some local Toys for Tots outlets may have stopped accepting toys already, but will still be taking monetary donations until December 24. Toys should be new and unwrapped. You can find the closest drop-off spot in your area at the Marine Toys For Tots Foundation website. Monetary donations may also be made online.
I’m sure that Toys for Tots isn’t the only charity suffering from our economic recession. Most communities have toy drives run by local churches or charities. Somehow, most of us have been able to afford at least a little Christmas for our families. Surely we can find a few dollars for one more Christmas present for a worthy charity, or spare one from that pile already under the tree. Let us remember to share our abundance (even though it may be small) and give to those who have less. Your reward will be seeing the shining eyes and happy smiles of your own family members on Christmas morning, and knowing that you made that day just a little bit brighter for another family, too.The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation has been distributing toys to needy children since 1947.The founder of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, got the idea from his wife when she asked him to find a charity to which she could donate a rag doll she made.http://www.toysfortots.org/default.asp