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.