Toys for Tots: A History of Spreading Joy

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Toys for Tots was founded by Colonel Bill Hendricks, USMCR (Ret) in 1947. He was inspired by his wife, Diane, when she tried to donate a homemade doll to a needy child but couldn’t find any organization to do so. Upon her suggestion, he pulled together a group of local Marine reservists and coordinated the collection of roughly 5,000 toys for area children in collection bins at movie theaters. Due to its success, the program became a national initiative just that next year and has been going strong ever since.

A Year of Toys

The Marine Toys for Tots Program collected and distributed 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children in this past year allowing them to experience the joy of Christmas and receive a message of hope that otherwise would not have been there. This community action program took place in 792 communities covering all 50 States, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Toys for Tots Literacy Program


The Toys for Tots Literacy Program helped bring the gift of reading to less fortunate children across the nation. The Foundation in concert with The UPS Stores raised over $454,802 through donations at over 2000 UPS Stores locations. The funds raised were used to purchase quality children’s books, which together with other donated new books, allowed the Foundation to distribute over 1.5 million books to less fortunate children and to schools located in depressed areas.

Making a Difference in a Child’s Life

The Foundation conducted an aggressive public information and education program to encourage Americans to get involved with the Marine Toys for Tots Program. This annual campaign brings communities together to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America’s less fortunate children. Our Marines together with our tens of thousands of volunteers made a difference in the lives of these children through the collection and distribution of toys and by their selfless personal example. This community action effort will assist and guide these children, helping them to develop into responsible, productive citizens.

We are accepting donations until 2 p.m. this Friday, December 15th at our Rochester Hills office. All those who donate will be entered into a raffle to win two tickets to see the Detroit Pistons play the Washington Wizards on Friday, January 19th. One entry per person.

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