Thursday, December 6, 2012

Toys For Tots

The year was 1947.  America was, at last, at peace.  Rosie the Riveter was back home, no longer hammering rivets in B-17's.   A lady named Diane Hendricks began crafting Raggedy Ann dolls with the intent to donate them to children at Christmas, children who would otherwise have nothing for Christmas.  She asked her Marine Major husband, William, to find an organization to receive and distribute these dolls.

Alas, there were none.  So Major Hendricks recruited his Marine Reservist buddies to "fall in" and carry out the mission of getting these dolls and other toys donated by other Marine wives to needy children.

Major Hendricks took the campaign even further.  He began coordinating efforts to leave drop off boxes of used toys in front of movie theaters and other public places.  The Marines then refurbished these used toys and deployed through America's neighborhoods, passing out toys to needy children.

These hard core Marines touched America's hearts like nothing that had ever come before.  Soon movie stars joined the campaign and promoted the Toys for Tots campaign.  The campaign grew.  For over thirty years Marines, with hands hardened from scaling walls and rappelling down ropes and gripping M-1's were sanding and painting little red wagons, mending stuffed toys and children's broken hearts.

In 1979, due to force cutbacks, there were too few marines left to repair and replenish used toys.  They had to restrict Toys for Tots donations to new, unwrapped toys for Christmas time deliveries.  But, even today, these Marines collect toys for needy kids and amass them in warehouses across America, then deploy in force at Christmas to bring hope and joy to America's needy children.

The marine motto for over 200 years has been "Semper Fidelis"; "always faithful".  How very fitting that these tough guys have been "ever faithful" to America's poor children for 65 years now.

Bless them.


  1. I want you to know that I read your columns daily. Sometimes you go a day or two without an entry but religiously I stop by to check. I don't always comment but spend a while reflecting in what you had said here. I will pass the good ones along on my face book page, this will be one of those.
    Like those ripples on a quiet pond...

    I love hearing stories like this, reassurance of the benevolence of my fellow man. With an emphasis on kindnesses afforded to children of unfortunate circumstance. Sadly, for a portion of my life I was exposed to a great deal of suffering by children at the hands of lousy adults posing as parents. It was just heartbreaking to see these kids especially at Christmas time. I don't know why that mattered more than any other time, maybe because they were aware, more than at any other time, that their circumstances were very different than those of their friends. I would try to do anything I could but it never seemed enough. I am so glad to hear of people like Major and Diane Hendricks. I think I will volunteer to help them and their cause after I post this. I think my nephew who was wondering what to do this Christmas, his first away from home since joining the Marines. I have a suggestion for him now.

    See, the effects of your great writing, like those ripples on the pond. WOW! Merry Christmas to you and yours! May God Bless You!

  2. Thanks for your nice words, Ken. Speaking of abuse of Children, especially at Christmas time, this week in Phoenix a mother was stopped by police. Before the officer could approach the car, she shuffled off a package of Crystal Meth over to her 14 year old daughter possession so the police could bust the kid and not the mother. Turns out the mother is a dealer.

    Can you just imagine what the life of that teen is, especially at Christmas?