U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s ‘Toys for Tots’ Program

The U. S. Marine Corps Reserve has a sixty odd year old scheme to collect toys for tots from needy families both in the United States and in other countries. The aim is to save new unwrapped toys during October, November and December every year and then hand those toys out as Christmas presents to deprived children in the community in which the campaign is being conducted.

Their objective is to bring a message of hope to disadvantaged children in order to encourage them to become ‘responsible, productive, patriotic citizens’ in the words of their web site.

One of the main goals of Toys for Tots is to bond the communities where U.S Marine Reserve units are stationed for the three months of October, November and December each year in the collection and allocation of new toys to children from less well-off families in order to help them experience the joys of Christmas.

One of the aspirations is that the memory of receiving these presents every year will encourage the kids to recognize the value of the communities where they live and take an active part in those communities when they become older.

Communities where there is no unit of U.S. marine Corps Reserves can also take part in the scheme but they must first register for authorization. These non-Marine organizations will usually, but not always, be ex-Marines.

These groups organize fund-raising events throughout the year in order to finance the purchase of new toys since donations of new toys do not always meet the groups’ needs. These fund-raising events could include sports days, golfing tournaments, bicycle races, swimming tournaments et cetera.

Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys for needy children in the local area.

The original concept sprang from Major Hendrick’s wife, Diane, who had made a doll for a deprived child. She gave it to her husband to give to a suitable charity. When he could not find one, she suggested that he start one himself, so he did just that.

The following year Marine Corps Reserve units across the country adopted the plan and it has been actively providing toys to disadvantaged tots ever since. Walt Disney got involved from the very beginning by designing the logo that the Marine Reserve charity still makes use of today.

Other celebrities to become involved in the early days were Nat ‘King’ Cole, Peggy Lee and Vic Damone, who recorded the Toys for Tots theme, which was written specially for the charity by Sammy Fain and Paul Webster.

Many celebrities have been played a part over the years. Celebrities like Bob Hope, John Wayne, Doris Day, Lorrie Morgan, Tim Allen, Kenny Rogers and Billy Ray Cyrus. First Lady Nancy Reagan acted as the national Spokesperson in 1983 and First Lady Barbara Bush served as the national Spokesperson in 1992. She wrote in her autobiography tenderly of her involvement with Toys for Tots and called it one of her favourite charities.

Owen Jones, the author of this article, writes on several topics, but is now involved with Silver Cross Rocking Horses. If you want to know more, please visit our web site at Rocking Horses for sale.