Monthly Cause: Marine Toys For Tots

By: Kendall Zuniga

During the months of November and December, Marine Toys For Tots Foundation is a charity made for children who are less fortunate to receive joy and hope through the gift of a new toy that they aren’t usually able to get. The mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is to assist the U. S. Marine Corps in providing a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children at Christmas. This assistance includes providing day-to-day leadership and oversight of the Program, raising funds to provide toys to supplement the collections of local Toys for Tots Campaigns, to provide promotional and support material and settle the costs of conducting annual Toys for Tots Campaigns.

Toys for Tots began in 1947, when Diane Hendricks, the wife of Major Bill Hendricks of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, made a doll for a needy child to receive for Christmas. When the couple determined that no organization existed to provide the doll to a child, they started a campaign to provide toys to children. Approximately 15 million American children live in poverty. Studies reveal that growing up in poverty can have an adverse psychological impact on a child. One of the adverse impacts is low self-esteem – a by-product of little or no hope for the future.
Each child has a choice of two paths to the future. One path leads to a productive life as an asset to the community. The other path leads to a life of dependency on the community for support. Without outside help, the path of least resistance is too often the path to a life of dependency. Economically disadvantaged children who receive toys through the Toys for Tots program have an opportunity to observe first hand how young men and women, just like themselves, have achieved success.

Since Christmas 1980, Marines have distributed only new toys. One of the principal reasons for the change was that delivering a “hand-me-down” toy sent the wrong message. A second hand toy gives a youngster the impression that he or she is a “second-class” citizen, worthy only of someone’s cast-off toys. Marines want to create and enhance self-esteem and deliver a message of hope. This can only come in the form of a new toy.
When looking back on your own life and you remember how happy you were to receive that new toy on Christmas day, you can’t help but realize how much of an impact that small toy had on you as a child. We can all agree that we would want the same for those who are less fortunate than us.

Ways to donate:
Go online to
Click on the “Donate a Toy” tab and follow the steps listed when donating a toy.
You can also find Marine Toys For Tots drop boxes at your local grocery stores.

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