Each year, Alacrity Services supports the United States Marine Corps Reserve “Toys for Tots” program by having the local Marine Corps unit drop off a box at our headquarters in Eugene, Oregon, for employees that want to donate new, unwrapped toys for the less fortunate children in our community. Not only does this program bring smiles to children’s faces, but also to the parents who do not have the means to provide gifts for their children.
This year, we would like to encourage everyone to support this worthwhile charity. From October to late December, many businesses in your local community support Toys for Tots by placing donation boxes in banks, office buildings, various stores, and local veteran’s groups. If you cannot find a collection box near you, you can visit the Toys for Tots website (http://www.toysfortots.org/) and donate money. The money donated is used for supporting the Toys for Tots program in your local community.
The program tries to encourage gifts for all ages of children, but usually the majority of gifts donated are in the five-to-twelve age range. Donations are usually leanest for babies, toddlers and young teens. The great thing about this program, though, is that ANY amount of giving helps.
Here are a few interesting facts about the Toys for Tots program, which started in Los Angeles, CA, with a handmade doll and an idea: to put a smile on the face of a child on Christmas morning.
- In 1947, Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, takes a handmade doll given to him by his wife, with orders to provide it to a local child in need. A light bulb goes off in his head – what a great idea! He has his Marine Corps Reserve unit collect toys for children in the community so they can receive gifts at Christmas. That year Major Hendricks and his Marine Corps Reserve unit collected 5,000 toys!
- In 1948, the United States Marine Corps formally adopts the Toys for Tots program and immediately re-envisions it as a nationwide community action project. Reserve Centers throughout the United States collect toys and distribute them within their local communities. That same year the program was fortunate to recruit Walt Disney to design the Toys for Tots train logo and to create the first national Toys for Tots poster.
- Each year, the campaign gained additional support and continued to grow. Although the campaign was originally intended to be limited to local communities within the United States, the program has gone international three times. The first instance was in 1959, to help the city of Nagoya, Japan, recover after a devastating typhoon; the second international campaign occurred in 1988, following the invasion of the Republic of Panama; and the third time in 1989, in response to Hurricane Hugo devastating the Caribbean.
- Over the years, Toys for Tots has collected over 494 million toys and distributed them to over 230 million children!
So, the next time you are out in your community, whether at the mall, getting your oil changed, or maybe at the grocery store, keep your eyes open for a Toys for Tots donation box. Drop a toy in the box and make a child beam with joy on Christmas!