Marine Toys for Tots Campaign Brings Joy to Children at Christmas

Marine Toys for Tots Campaign Brings Joy to Children at Christmas

By Dawn M Chiossi

     In his timeless holiday classic, A Christmas Carol, Charles Dickens wrote that “(Christmas) was a time where want was most keenly felt and abundance rejoices.” And it is true. In the holiday season especially, where there is a flurry of giving and receiving, of buying presents, people are urged not to forget those out there who are  struggling in this insecure world, where so many people in communities at large are in need.  

     ‘Tis the season for gift giving, and with the Marines Toys for Tots Campaign, people are urged to embrace the true spirit holiday by thinking of others. All that’s needed is to drop off an unwrapped new toy at one of the many drop off centers out there.

     Delivering hope since 1947, to date, the Marine Toys for Tots campaign has distributed 548 million toys, and supported approximately 251 million children. Beginning simply as the inspiration of Marine Corps Major Bill Hendricks’ wife Diane, who had created  a few handcrafted dolls and asked her husband to deliver them to an agency that supports children in need.

     When Hendricks gave his wife the unfortunate news that he could not find such an organization out there, she simply replied, “start one!”

     And the Toys for Tots campaign was born.

     At the time, Hendricks’s civilian job was Director of Public Relations at Warner Brothers Studios. As such, he asked his many celebrity friends to help support the new Toys for Tots program.

      Friend, Walt Disney even designed the first Toys for Tots poster which included a miniature three-car train that quickly became the Toys for Tots logo.

     In 1947, Hendricks and the marines in his unit collected and distributed 5,000 toys. Seeing their success, the marines quickly implemented a Toys for Tots campaign national community event in 1948.

     Established in 1991 as a nonprofit, the Marine Toys for Tots deliver so  more than just presents, this worthwhile program delivers hope and inspiration to so many.

     The mission was as always, to collect new and unwrapped toys and distribute them to those less fortunate at this holiday time. Through the gift of a new toy, this nonprofit organization hopes to bring joy and hope to America’s less fortunate children out there.

     Taking place from October to mid to late December, with toy distribution soon after, participating in Toys For Tots this is a amazing way to show your empathy for others. 

     Local campaigns are conducted annually in over 800 communities covering all 50 states, the District Of Colombia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands

     According to officials, local Toys for Tots campaigns are the heart and soul of the mission.

     Drop off Locations in Morris County are wonderfully extensive: But no matter the business or organization, they are reaching out to give children a wonderful holiday.    

    Some of these drop off locations include, but are not limited to:

     Butler Public Library: Arlene Walk or Luis Rodriguez
   11/01/2018 – 12/06/2018
  10-8 Monday thru Thursday, Friday 10-5, Saturday 10-3
  1 Ace Road, Butler, New Jersey, 07405


     For five years, Butler Public Library has been a drop off site for this wonderful organization. .  

     Organizer, Arlene Walk explains, “Once we are approved, we set up a display and try to make it look festive and inviting. Around the holidays our community is generous and helps us new and unwrapped toys. What better place than a library which is more like a community center with a wonderful meeting place for all.

    “I love watching the community drop off the toys and see the pile of them overflow in the boxes provided. It is the best! I love watching the children peek in the boxes at the library,” she enthuses.

     1776 On The Green: DEB WARREN
     11/01/2018 – 12/15/2018
     M-F 9am – 6pm, Sat 9am – 1pm
     67 East Park Place, Morristown, New Jersey, 07960

     For two years, 1776 On The Green in Morristown has been participating in as a drop off location for Toys for Tots.

     “It’s extremely popular,” enthuses organizer, Deb Warren. “Everyone loves it.”

     She mentions that she has seen trains, basketballs, toys and games, great assortments for kids of all ages in their drop off box.

     “My favorite thing is knowing that we are helping,” Warren asserts and she hopes to be involved next year with Toys for Tots and even expand locations.

     “The most fulfilling moment of the Toys for Tots campaign has to be when you are looking at the massive bags and wondering you’ll transport them to the drop off location. That’s a pretty good problem to have!  And it must be universal, because when dropping them off there are so many bags that they didn’t even fit into the bins. That’s a lot of happy children and lots of smiles.”

     11/23/2018 – 12/15/2018
     9am-6pm Monday – Saturday
     111 Ridgedale Avenue, MORRISTOWN, New Jersey, 07960

     BMW of Roxbury: LISA CESARO
    11/23/2018 – 12/15/2018
    9am-6pm Monday – Saturday
   840 US 46 , Kenvil, New Jersey, 07847

     According to organizer Lisa Cesaro, the Open Road company and its various locations have been participating in Toys for Tots for an impressive 30 plus years! She says that those interested can drop off toys at any one of their 19 locations.

      So far, she discloses that the program is overwhelmingly popular, mentioning that hundreds of people have dropped off toys already.  “This is a win-win for everyone,” Cesaro enthuses. “Our employees love it, our customers love it, and the community appreciates it. Marine Toys for Tots is an amazing program that not only serves our community, but assists the US Marine Corps in their mission.”

     When asked about her thoughts and feelings regarding this program. Cesaro states, “It is always our hopes and desire that this simple deed can change a child’s life. Many years ago when I was collecting toys and one of the donors shared his story,” she relates. “He was an M.D. for “Doctors without Borders” and said when his father was serving, Toys For Tots was there to help. He wanted a doctor’s kit. He truly believed that if it wasn’t for the program, he never would have become a doctor. It changed his life.”

    For a complete list of drop off locations please visit

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