Give the gift of hope

This season. (Photo by Toys for Tots)

By Josef Davis

During the countless hours of the holidays when you are rushing to find a gift, finding a place to hide the gift, finding an appropriate time to wrap the gift, and finally receiving the gift, we can forget some of the more important parts of the holiday season. This is something that does not matter what you do or do not celebrate- there are always people less fortunate than you are.

There are a number of different charities out there helping the less fortunate this holiday season, one of which is Toys for Tots.

“I would like to tell students that through all of these sorts of programs, such as Toys for Tots, they’re making a huge impact on the lives of others, even if they cannot see that difference,” Molly Bower, Graduate Assistant for the Office of Student Development, responded.

This is the first year Toys for Tots will be on campus and hosted by the Volunteer Center. “We are the sole group in promoting this. However, I recently spoke with Athletics, and they have decided to start advertising the charity as well so that people attending their games will bring unwrapped gifts for the cause. They approached me about it a few days ago, and it’s so great that they’ve decided to take that sort of initiative to help us out!”   Bower responded.

Toys for Tots main goal is to help the less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas. Toys for Tots was sponsored by the Marines, and still is today. The donation of new and unwrapped toy collections begins in October and goes all the way through to December. The donated toys then become gifts for the less fortunate children in the community.

Although this is the first year for Toys for Tots to be on campus, a similar program has been on campus for some time now, known as the Angel Tree. The Angel Tree, unlike Toys for Tots, is run through the Salvation Army. This program provides a child’s name and their Christmas wish list on a tag, hung on the tree. For the people that wish to participate, they can take a tag from the tree to fulfill that child’s wish.

The history of Toys for Tots all began back in 1947; however it was in 1995 where it was approved by the Secretary of Defense as an official activity of the Marine Corps. A year later it was expanded to all 50 states.

Since it began, the program has distributed will over 469 million toys, which went to over 216 million less fortunate children. In the programs first year, over 5,000 toys were donated to the campaign in time for Christmas. The first toy ever in the donations was a handmade doll.

Beginning in 1980, the Toys for Tots program has only been accepting new toys. The campaign has even had celebrity support from legends like John Wayne and Frank Sinatra, to the current First Lady Michelle Obama.

The last day to bring  in unwrapped gifts is Dec. 17. There are donation bins in the Hammond Lobby, Condike Lobby, and the Rec center. Bring joy to children this holiday season.

Want more information? Visit toysfortots.org

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