Each year, the United States Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program makes it possible for children from low income families to receive new toys during the holiday season. Toy drives are coordinated by Reserve Units or authorized veteran Marines throughout the United States.
About the USMC Toys for Tots Program
The Toys for Tots program is a charitable endeavor of the United States Marine Corps Reserve. During the fourth quarter of each year, the organization mobilizes to collect unwrapped new toys. Donated toys are distributed to needy children, typically under age 12, in the communities where items are collected. The ultimate goal of the program is to bring a happy Christmas to underprivileged children along with a message of hope.
The first toy ever donated to Toys for Tots was a homemade Raggedy Ann Doll in 1947. When Major Bill Hendricks couldn't find an organization that distributed toys to kids for Christmas, he created Toys for Tots along with the help of fellow marines. Only one year later, in 1948, Walt Disney designed the infamous train logo and the program spread nationwide.
Facts and Figures
The number of children served and toys donated in 2017 speaks volumes about the efforts of this organization:
- 18 million toys distributed annually
- 7 million children receiving toys in 2017
- More than 240 million children served since inception
- Toys for Tots programs in nearly 800 locations across all 50 states
Merit and Recognition
Toys for Tots is one charitable program that has stood the test of time with nearly 75 years of work for children. In 1995, the foundation was approved as an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserves by the U.S. Secretary of Defense. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, which funds and supports the Toys for Tots Program, is listed as a Better Business Bureau Accredited Charity. With a four star rating on Charity Navigator, the organization boasts spending 96 percent of its expenses delivering programs and services.
Donating to Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots Programs accept donations of new toys and children's games as well as financial gifts to help purchase new items. There are lots of ways to get involved.
During the holiday season, it's likely that information about locations where donors can leave toys will be publicized via local television and radio stations. You can also search by state for a local campaign coordinator on the website under the "Donate a Toy" tab to find out how to give. All toys must be new and still in their original packaging. Although the organization doesn't list unwanted items, they ask donors to refrain from giving realistic-looking weapons and items with edible elements.
If you'd like to donate money to Toys For Tots, you can head to the website and pay with a credit or debit card. You can make a onetime gift or set up a recurring donation if you'd like to provide financial assistance on an ongoing basis. The organization also accepts donations via PayPal.
Other Ways to Donate
If you don't have toys or a credit card, there are several other ways you can help the foundation. Provide financial support for the organization by:
- Donating an automobile through Cars for Tots
- Gifting your profits from eBay sales
- Starting an official fundraising page
Request Assistance From Toys for Tots
You can nominate a child using the "Request a Toy" tab on the organization's website. You'll need to specify what city and state the child lives in at the time you submit the request. Parents and caregivers also need to show proof of income and provide legal documents proving the identity of each referred child. The number of toys collected and families requesting assistance each year in each location determines which children are selected to receive gifts.
Giving Gifts of Hope and Love
Christmas is about more than toys, it's about compassion and kindness. Programs like Toys for Tots translate the messages of love and hope through a medium kids understand, toys.