Every holiday season, children across the US go without any toys or presents for Christmas. According to the NCCP, there are approximately 15 million children in the US whose family incomes are under the federal poverty threshold. These children could use the message of hope and giving that comes with a brand-new toy.
Toys for Tots is a United States Marines-run program devoted to the collection and distribution of toys during the holidays, to send this message. They encourage donations of new, unwrapped toys and gifts to distribute, not hand-me-downs.
How It Began
The organization was founded by Major Bill Hendricks of the Marine Corps in 1947.
He was inspired when his wife, Diane, tried to donate a Raggedy Ann doll to children in need. She found that there were no organizations which they could donate toys through to give to children.
As a response to this lack, Hendricks and Marine reservists joined together to begin collecting toys. They eventually gathered over 5,000 toys for local children.
This was the beginning of the Toys for Tots program, which is now operated all over the nation.
Bringing Communities Together
In addition to its collection and distribution program, Toys for Tots maintains a yearly public information and education program to encourage Americans to get involved. Every year the campaign works to bring communities together to help bring a message of hope to children in poverty or depressed areas. Tens of thousands of volunteers work not just to distribute these toys, but encourage their communities to assist and guide children.
Serving 792 Communities Nationwide
In the past year alone, Toys for Tots collected and distributed 18 million toys to 7 million children. The program also took place in 792 communities, in all 50 States, as well as in the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.
In addition, Toys for Tots has developed a Literacy Program to help bring books and the fun of reading to children across the country. The Foundation and UPS Stores worked together to raise over $454,802 at over 2,000 UPS Stores locations.
Quality children’s books were purchased with the funds raised from these donations. In total, over 1.5 million books were distributed to children living in poverty and to public schools located in depressed areas.
Events for Awareness
This year, Supply Chimp was contacted by Amanda Landrum, Coordinator of the USMC Reserve in New Mexico.
As part of a catfish fishing derby fundraiser on July 4, 2017, Landrum also planned a silent auction and banquet dinner and expected over 2,500 guests. She worked to offer food and drink available for purchase, with all proceeds benefiting Toys for Tots reserves.
Landrum began planning the event early to address a struggle in 2016 to fill toy requests and helped raffle baskets to raise more to donate.
Events like this are part of Toys for Tots’ efforts for additional fundraising and awareness, in order to touch childrens’ lives and make a difference. Supply Chimp was happy to donate cups and lids to help Landrum’s efforts to raise money for Toys for Tots.
Below are ways you or your business can donate and make a difference in a child’s life this holiday season!
Six Ways to Participate
- Holiday Recognition Program: This program allows you to send gifts to coworkers, associates, family members and friends.
- In Memory or In Honor: Donations can be made year-round, in memory of a relative or loved one.
- Mail-in forms: Accepted for donations.
- eBay: Toys for Tots offers an option through eBay to sell items on eBay and donate 10-100% of the final sale price to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Those who donate this way receive a tax deduction from the government and a credit on basic eBay selling fees, in exchange for the donation.
- Fundraising Page: Individuals and businesses can start a personal page or Team Toys for Tots page to support the program by collecting donations.
- Native American Program: In addition, you can help out with this program which began in 1980 and now benefits over 120,000 Native American children annually. The program provides toys and books to participating reservations, and actively supports the First Lady of the Navajo Nation with the Navajo Literacy Program.
Through these programs and more, Toys For Tots offers many different ways to make a difference in a child’s life and spread a message of hope during the holidays, or to last all year long.
Share your stories and experiences with Toys for Tots below!