How Toys for Tots Began
For over 70 years the Marine Corps has been making a difference in the lives of many American families all around the U.S. and it all began because of a loving husband and wife. Toys for Tots was started in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks, but it was actually his wife, Diane, who was the inspiration behind the original idea. It came to her after she was unable to find a way to donate a few homemade dolls to needy children. Later that year, Major Hendricks and the Marines placed collection bins all over Los Angeles and collected over 5,000 toys to donate to needy children.
The following year, Toys for Tots was adopted by the Marine Corps and they helped to expand it nationwide. Walt Disney also became involved with the organization and was personally in charge of the making of the charity’s logo in 1948. Up until 1980, the toys that were collected to be passed out on Christmas were both new and used, but today only new toys are collected. This change was made because many people felt that donating a used toy to children living in poverty didn’t send the right message. Rather than making children feel like second-class citizens Toys for Toys wanted to send a message of hope.
Toys for Tots Today
Since it first started, Toys for Tots has made a huge impact on many communities and today they have delivered over 18 million toys to over 7 million less fortunate children living in poverty. The impact of a single toy goes beyond being just a holiday present for a child. Children that live in poverty can have psychological issues that result from seeing little to no hope for a better future for themselves and their family. Donating a new toy is simple and it relays a message of hope and potential for a more positive future in young children.
Last year over 8,000 toys were donated and almost 3,000 children we’re supported in Whatcom County’s Toys for Tots campaign alone. While Toys for Tots Coordinators organize, coordinate, and manage the campaign, the ultimate success depends on the support of the local community and the generosity of the people who donate toys. This year we are proud to once again support Toys for Tots and we hope you are able to support us as well. With your help, millions of less fortunate children can share in the magic of the holidays on Christmas Day!
How Does Toys for Tots Work?
Local Toys for Tots campaigns are put on by either a Marine, a member of the Marine Corps League Detachment, or members of local community organizations. These campaigns are coordinated annually from October through December in over 700 communities nationwide. Designated Coordinators are in charge of planning, organizing, and conducting the campaign in our community. On Christmas Day, Coordinators, with the assistance of local social welfare agencies, church groups, and other local community groups, distribute toys to children in our community. If you are looking to help the Toys for Tots campaign through a donation, visit the Toys for Tots website to locate a donation box near you, or simply make a monetary donation online.