I wanted to take some time to talk about a program that has been going on since 1947 that means so much to the needy children in our country. Toys For Tots was started by a Marine Corpsman in 1947 who’s wife wanted to donate a doll to charity but couldn’t find an organization to do so.
So he, along with a fellow Marine, set up a collection box outside of Warner Brothers Studios and collected 5,000 toys that first year to be given to the needy children in that area. The efforts were so successful that Toys for Tots was given a national label. The Marine that helped found Toys for Tots enlisted the help of celebrities to get the name out and even Walt Disney participated by creating the famous train logo.
The Marines set up collection boxes in locations across America and distribute the toys locally. They started out collecting and refurbishing toys, whatever families were done with, but in 1979 changed to only new toys as it didn’t send a message of hope to the poor to distribute only hand-me-downs.
Since then, Marines have volunteered their time every year to collect and distribute millions of toys to those less fortunate in the United States but there has been a few occasions where Toys for Tots has gone international. In one country, there was a catastrophic typhoon, another was hit by a hurricane, and the Marines were there to deliver toys and hope to those children.
Toys for Tots is a fantastic charitable organization, one that First Ladies have supported through the years, and with hope, the program will continue for many years to come.