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Toys for Tots

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Toys for Tots

Dallas Shrawder, Senior Staff Writer

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The giving season is fast approaching. People everywhere are in the festive spirit: spreading love, being joyous, and giving. One way to knock all three of those out in one swing is to participate in Toys for Tots drives.

This time of year, it is not uncommon to be with friends and family to exchange gifts. Most children write wish lists, give them to their loved ones, and on December 25th, receive all their gifts they asked for. Sounds great, does it not?

During the holidays, however, it is important to keep in mind that not everyone is as fortunate as some.  There are children who don’t have the same privilege of receiving all things they simply write on a list. Some children do not receive anything at all; that is where Toys for Tots comes in.

Toys for Tots, started in 1947, is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve. This program’s intent is to distribute donated toys to children whose parents cannot afford to purchase any themselves. The very first year Toys for Tots was run, the organization reported a total of 5,000 toys were collected in a campaign before Christmas.

As the years passed, Toys for Tots grew in popularity, and it only keeps expanding. In 1948, Walt Disney designed the famous Toys for Tots train logo; in 1956, Oscar-winning songwriters Sammy Fain and Paul Webster composed the Toys for Tots theme song; in 1962, the New York Yankees become the first major sports team to sponsor the drive; and in 1990, Pizza Hut sponsored a three-week ad campaign for the program that raises approximately $3,000,000. (toysfortots.org)

This program has also had a big success in recent years. In 2014, Toys for Tots raised roughly $284 million. In 2013, despite government shutdown and the effects it had on the military, Toys for Tots still collected 16.8 million toys, distributing them to around 7 million needy children. Even during the 2009 economic struggles, Toys for Tots managed to bring in 16.3 million toys, and distribute them to over 7.4 million less fortunate kids.

If readers are wondering, “how can I donate toys to this program?”, there are many locations that have designated toy drop-offs. The Toys for Tots’ website instructs that the first thing to do would be to log onto toysfortots.org, and on the top of the home page will be a drop-down menu labeled ‘select a state’. Once clicked, one may find their state, then their city/county. Once that’s decided on, your nearest local Toys for Tots page will pop up with information about events, where to drop off toys, how to become a collection site, etc.

The giving season is now upon us. You might not think you could make a difference with just one small toy, but that is all it takes! It only takes one small donation to make a kid’s whole year. Just think about how ecstatic a child would be to receive a toy that otherwise would not be given to them without your help. One toy, one donation, one day can make you, and a less fortunate child, feel important this Christmas.

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