Every year we hear about Toys for Tots, about how the Marines are collecting toys for needy children. Have you ever wondered how this amazing initiative got started?
According to the Toys for Tots website, it all started in 1947 when Diane Hendricks, the wife of a Marine reserve officer (Maj Bill Hendricks), hand-crafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked her husband to give it to an organization that distributed toys to needy children.
He couldn’t find one. But he was a Marine. He created one and called it Toys for Tots. That first year they received 5000 toys for needy kids, and the program has grown ever since.
Since Maj Hendricks was Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio in his civilian life, Hollywood jumped in to help. Walt Disney created the logo you see at the top of this article.
Their goal, to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children,” resonated then and continues to strike a chord across America. By 1996 the program had expanded to all 50 states, and In 2003, the DMA Nonprofit Federation named the Foundation the â€œOutstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Yearâ€ for 2003. That same year, Readerâ€™s Digest named Marine Toys for Tots Foundation â€œAmericaâ€™s Best Children’s Charityâ€, and Forbes included Toys for Tots in it’s “Gold Star List” of charities.
You don’t have to convince us. God bless the Marines for this wonderful program. You’re our heroes of the week.
To give money, volunteer or donate toys, go to Donation Central on the Toys for Tots website.