Thursday, December 2, 2010

US Marine Corps Reserve 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 goal is to collect new unwrapped toys during October, November and December every year and then give those toys out as Christmas presents to deprived children in the community in which the campaign is being conducted.

Their aim is to deliver a message of hope to underprivileged children in order to encourage them to become 'responsible, productive, patriotic citizens' in the words of their website.

One of the foremost goals of Toys for Tots is to unite the communities where U.S Marine Reserve units are stationed for the three months of October, November and December every 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 hopes is that the memory of receiving these gifts every year will encourage the kids to appreciate the communities where they live and take an dynamic part in those communities when they become older.

Communities where there is no detachment of U.S. marine Corps Reserves can also take part in the program but they should first register for authorization. These non-Marine groups will mostly, 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 organizations' needs. These fund-raising events can include sports days, golfing tournaments, bicycle races, swimming tournaments et cetera.

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

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

The next year Marine Corps Reserve units across the country adopted the program and it has been actively providing toys to deprived 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.

Numerous celebrities have been involved over the years. People like Bob Hope, John Wayne, Doris Day, Lorrie Morgan, Tim Allen, Kenny Rogers and Billy Ray Cyrus. First Lady Nancy Reagan served as the national Spokesperson in 1983 and First Lady Barbara Bush acted 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.

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