What Is Toys for Tots? A Quick Look at Where It Came From & What It Does

There are a few things that are seemingly guaranteed around the holiday season: increased traffic around shopping centers, a startling uptick in the number of Bing Crosby songs playing on the radio, and a deeply-felt imperative to give to those less fortunate. The holidays can be a great time for everyone, but they are particularly magical for kids.

Similarly, the holidays are considerably tougher for kids who don’t get to experience the same magnitude of cheer as other children.

Enter Toys for Tots. Founded by the United States Marine Corps Reserve in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks and authorized by the Secretary of Defense as an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve and official activity of the Marine Corps, Toys for Tots strives to make the season bright for children around the country every holiday. Every October-December, the objective of Toys for Tots is to collect as many new and unwrapped toys as possible to be distributed to needy children in communities all around the United States.

Since its foundation nearly 70 years ago, Toys for Tots has distributed more than 512 million toys to nearly a quarter-million needy children throughout the United States. The cause has also been perpetuated by familiar faces including John Glenn, Johnny Carson, George Harrison, Roy Rogers, Bob Hope, Joe Louis, and even fictional characters like Bugs Bunny, Mickey Mouse, and Ronald Reagan.

For its efforts, Toys for Tots has been awarded a number of accolades, including routine ranking among the “Philanthropy 400,” an “Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year” from the DMA Nonprofit Federation, and inclusion in Forbes’ “Gold Star List” of charities.

But for all of those accolades, Toys for Tots would not be able to accomplish its aims without the support of its countless donors. Whether it be monetary donations, helping to organize local events or hosting drop-off bins, or donating a toy that you know will help put a smile on the face of a child in need, your contribution to Toys for Tots is what enables it to continuously improve the lives of children.

Whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, the winter solstice, or just the idea of giving to those in need, consider donating to Toys for Tots next holiday season.

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