Stories

Toys for Tots Drive Begins

December 4, 2018

By Ana Gomez Salcido

Donations for Toys for Tots have started. To donate, all people have to do is drop off a new, unwrapped toy into the Toys for Tots donation boxes at McClellan-Palomar Airport in Carlsbad, Gillespie Field in El Cajon, Fallbrook Airpark in Fallbrook, or Ramona Airport in Ramona.

The donation boxes will be open at all four airports through Friday, Dec. 14. All of the toys that are donated will be given out to children in San Diego County communities.

People interested in donating can also give their donated toy in person to uniformed U.S. Marines at two special events, Saturday Dec. 8 at Ramona Airport and Saturday, Dec. 15 at Fallbrook Airpark.

Marines will be at Ramona Airport from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 8, and at Fallbrook Airpark the following week, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Dec. 15.

With the help of the community, the County of San Diego and Marine Corps have been putting smiles on kids’ faces for years through Toys for Tots.

Donations can include new, unwrapped toys, bikes, games, dolls, stuffed animals and just about anything that will help brighten up a child’s holiday season.

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during the holiday months each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The 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, patriotic citizens.

Toys for Tots began in 1947 by Marine Corps Reserve Major, Bill Hendricks after his wife, Diane, wanted to deliver a few handcrafted dolls to an agency that supported children in need, but they couldn’t find such an organization, so they created one. Hendricks and the Marines in his reserve unit in LA collected and distributed 5,000 toys in 1947.

Seeing such successful community engagement in 1947, the Commandant directed all Marine Reserve Sites to implement a Toys for Tots campaign transforming it into a national community action program in 1948.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a non-profit organization, was established in 1991 at the behest of the Marine Corps to help run and support the Marine Toys for Tots Program.

The Foundation raises funds, purchases toys, provides promotional and support materials, manages all funds raised and donated, solicites corporate support, educates the public, and handles day-to-day operations.

Presently, the Marine Toys for Tots Program distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children annually.

For more information about the airport donation boxes, people can contact the Fallbrook Airpark at (760) 723-8395 or Ramona Airport at (760) 788-3366.

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