12-14-2020 - Toys for Tots, United States Marine Corps Reserve
Toys for Tots, USMCR
Run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve, Toys for Tots distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them holiday gifts. They continue to be recognized for their outstanding fiscal responsibility and the above-average ratio of total annual revenue to program delivery. Those looking for a charitable organization which does not have significant administrative costs and reasonably-paid executives with responsible fiscal practices should consider giving to Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The organization has been giving hope to children at Christmas for nearly 70 years and is regularly recognized as a high-quality charity.
It began as a Los Angeles Charitable effort in 1947. Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, was inspired by his wife Diane when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but couldn't find any organization to do so. At her suggestion, he gathered a group of local Marine reservists, including Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton who coordinated and collected some 5,000 toys for local children that year from collection bins placed outside Warner Bros movie theatres. Jon B. Riffel also helped found the organization. Their efforts were so successful that, in 1948, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign. Hendricks used his position as director of Public Relations for Warner Bros Studios to enlist celebrity support, as well as have Walt Disney Studios design the red toy train logo. A theme song for the program was written in 1956 by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, and would be recorded by Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, among others.
Until 1979, Marine reservists (frequently in their dress blue uniforms) and volunteers would collect and refurbish used toys. In 1980, only new toys were accepted, as reservists were no longer able to dedicate drill hours to refurbish toys, as well as legal concerns, to prevent the accidental giving of recalled items, and the mixed message of giving hand-me-downs as a message of hope.
In 1991, the Secretary of Defense authorized the creation and affiliation with the non-profit charity foundation. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.
The mission of the program "is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted."
The stated goal is to "deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens."