Toys for Tots – Fun Facts

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You can probably tell, we’re big fans of the Toys for Tots program. It’s amazing what we can accomplish when we work together. We thought you’d enjoy learning more about this great program and some of its history as much as we did!

  • 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.
  • Walt Disney was a close personal friend of Bill Hendricks, having worked with him when Hendricks was the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio in the mid-1940s. In 1947, Disney designed the first Toys for Tots poster which included a miniature three-car train that was later adopted as the Toys for Tots logo.
  • Since Christmas 1980, Marines have distributed only new toys. One of the principal reasons was that they felt delivering a “hand-me-down” toy sent the wrong message. A second hand toy gives a youngster the impression that he or she is a “second-class” citizen, worthy only of someone’s cast-off toys. Marines wanted to create and enhance self-esteem and deliver a message of hope, which they felt comes in the form of a new toy.
  • Since 1980, the Toys for Tots Native American Program has grown to benefit over 120,000 Native American children annually, providing toys and books to participating reservations as well as actively supporting the First Lady of the Navajo Nation with the Navajo Literacy Program. In the early years of the program, few toys were available for distribution on the Reservations and required significant volunteer support from the Reservation Police Departments traveling to California to pick up donated toys. Today, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation supplements the campaign, providing thousands of toys by shipping them directly to the Reservations.
  • Toys for Tots takes any vehicle donation from anywhere in America, running or not. You get a tax deduction and the satisfaction of knowing you contributed to a great cause. Call 877-999-8322 to learn more.
  • Over 97% of your donations go to providing toys, books, and other gifts to less fortunate children. Less than 3% is spent on fundraising and overhead.
  • Over its life span, the Marine Toys for Tots Program distributed over 512 million toys to over 237 million less fortunate children.

Consider dropping off a new, unwrapped toy donation today and you will receive one (1) entry in our Detroit Pistons Ticket Giveaway! The lucky winner will receive two (2) tickets and one (1) parking pass to see the Detroit Pistons take on the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday, January 5th at 7:30 p.m.

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