Like many charities, the United State Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots is facing a difficult year. Operating in all 50 states, plus Washington, DC, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, in 2006 Toys for Tots helped 7.6 million needy children by distributing over 19.2 million toys.
According to the Columbus Dispatch, with just two weeks to go in their toy collection drive, the Central Ohio Toys for Tots has collected only 17,000 toys, well short of their goal of 50,000 toys to distribute for Christmas in 2008.
Demand has increased over the past year by requests for an additional 15,000 toys more than 2007. I wrote about the 2007 toy distribution on October 1 in this article.
Founded in Los Angeles in 1947, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation appeared on the Philanthropy 400 at number 59 in 2006 and also received a 4-star ranking from Charity Navigator for sound fiscal management. This is a very worthy charity and one that helps needy children in more than 550 communities around the country.
I want to personally attest to the heart and soul these Marines give to this project. Several years ago, I volunteered at the Central Ohio Toys for Tots kickoff event. An evening of fun and laughter amidst a silent auction fundraiser, this was also an evening of testimonials from Marines with tears in their eyes. It is hard to find anyone who was present that evening who wasn’t moved by the dedication of these Marines who protect our country to this cause to help our youngest citizens.
The Columbus Dispatch reported on Christmas Day, 2007 about the 2007 Toys for Tots distribution. While the reporting is balanced and shows the ugliness that many people associate with charity giveaways, the article also includes the story of a family that makes all the greediness exhibited fall to the wayside.
I am writing to ask for help for Toys for Tots. The Marine Toys for Tots website give drop-off locations all around the country. In Central Ohio, new, unwrapped toys may be dropped in collection boxes at all Franklin County NAPA Auto Parts and Lifestyle Fitness locations, as well as other businesses.
Any amount of money can be used by the Marines to buy toys to help Central Ohio’s needy children. Send donations checks or money orders made payable to “Toys for Tots of Ohio” to 7221 2nd Street, Columbus, OH 43217. All donations made in Columbus will buy toys in Columbus.