Mel Rising Dawn Cordeiro
Running from now through Dec. 19, Rhode Island College’s Military Resource Center (MRC) is hosting their annual Toys for Tots fundraiser. The MRC are asking those in the RIC community to consider donating a new, unwrapped toy. Toys can be dropped off at the box outside the MRC’s office, which is on the first floor in the Student Union Building, across from the campus bookstore.
Last year, Toys for Tots delivered over 22.4 million toys, books and games to an estimated 8.8 million children. Under the direction of the Commander of the Marine Forces Reserve, active duty and veteran coordinators, the Toys for Tots program collects, sorts and distributes toys to children of poverty line status. After obtaining a 501 (c) (3) status in 1991, over 800 community campaigns were established to aid in the overall mission of providing Christmas hope to families in need. Toys for Tots is headquartered in the Cooper Center, which is located just outside the Main Gate of the Marine Corps Base located in Quantico, Virginia. There are currently over 800 campaigns conducted annually in communities covering
all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendrick was tasked by his wife, Diane, to donate a few handcrafted dolls to an agency that supports children in need. Finding that no such agency existed, Hendrick created Toys for Tots in collaboration with his Marine reserve unit in Los Angeles. In the first year alone, Hendrick and his fellow Marines gathered and distributed over 5,000 toys. Seeing the potential, Hendrick, being the Commandant, directed all Marine Corps reserve sites to implement a Toys for Tots campaign. This became a community action program in 1948, meaning that it’s continued to grow and become what everyone now sees today.
There is also quite the history in how the advertising campaign for Toys for Tots began. Hendrick’s civilian job was as the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studios. He was friendly with many celebrities who supported his newly created program. Walt Disney himself designed the very first Toys for Tots poster as a personal favor to Hendrick. Disney’s design included the three-car train that is visible on all of the advertisement posters today.
Those who want to know even more information on how they can contribute and help keep the magic of Christmas alive for a child can visit the Toys for Tots website at www.toysfortots.org.