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Charity Spotlight: Toys for Tots

By on December 12, 2014

It’s the time of giving, and who more deserving than a child in need? When most children wake up on Christmas morning, they have presents under the Christmas tree, but some children aren’t so lucky. Thankfully, there is an organization dedicated to not only providing gifts to disadvantaged youth, but uniting members or local communities to work together for a common purpose.

toys for tots6The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots collects new, unwrapped toys for underprivileged children, and distributes them around the holidays. The gift-collecting effort begins in October and continues through December, and this year the toys will be delivered on Saturday and Sunday, December 20 and 21.

In 2013, Toys for Tots collected 21,103 toys that were distributed to 7,251 children in El Dorado County, and this year they are hoping for more. “We have a need and every year the community comes through,” said Sue Henderson, local coordinating officer. El Dorado County Toys for Tots has partnered with 15 local sponsors to make this possible, some including South Lake Tahoe Family Resource Center, El Dorado County Health Center and the Placerville Police Department Christmas Party for Kids. This year marks the 35th year for the Marine Corps League “Hangtown” Detachment 697 Toys for Tots campaign.

Toys for Tots began as a charitable campaign in 1947. chromecast for pc The inspiration for the efforts came from Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and his wife, Diane when she wanted to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll, but could not find an organization to donate it to. With the help of his other local marine reservists, Hendricks and Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton collected around 5,000 toys that year. Becoming an overnight success, Toys for Tots launched a national campaign in 1948.

toys for tots smilingIn 1991, Secretary of Defense, Dick Cheney, approved the formation and affiliation of the nonprofit and in 1995, Secretary of Defense, William Perry, approved Toys for Tots as an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.
As of 2013, the program and foundation have collected and distributed over 469 million toys to 216 million children in need nationwide.

The organization has won several awards including 2003 Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year, Reader’s Digest Best Children’s Charity of 2003, and is one of the top 10 charities of 2003 on the Forbes’ “Gold Star List.”

If you feel like donating, here are some things to keep in mind:

  • Most campaign sites assist up to age 12, but many local communities have extended to include ages 14-16.
  • There is always a need for items such as: sporting equipment/balls, books, backpacks, cosmetics, purses, board games, skateboards/helmets, hand-held electronics, curling irons and straightening irons.
  • Toys for Tots does NOT accept realistic-looking weapons or gifts with food.

To find a drop-off location or for more information, visit

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