This is the time of year for us to support the annual Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. Toys for Tots started in 1946 in California, after the wife of a Marine Corps Reserve Major made a toy to be given to a less fortunate child in need. She found that could not easily find a way to get the toy into the hands of a child in need, so she got her husband involved.
As expected, the Marines took action! In 1947, his Marine Corps Reserve unit started collecting and distributing toys, and Toys for Tots began. Today, Toys for Tots is designated as an official activity of the U.S. Marine Corps and Marine Corps Reserve.
To help us all understand what a truly great giving program this is, consider this absolutely amazing Toys for Tots record. Since this program started, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots Program has distributed nearly 500 million toys to more than 200 million less fortunate children, who otherwise might not receive any gifts at this special time of year.
We also should be impressed with the very effective use of donations made to this great charitable cause. Toys for Tots is considered to be a top-rated charity because more than 97 percent of our donations goes to their mission of providing toys, books, and other gifts to less fortunate children. In other words, less than 3 percent of the funds they receive are spent on overhead expenses. This great efficiency tells us that this is a very well run charitable organization.
Of course, the overall objective of Toys for Tots is to help less fortunate children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas. In so doing, they play an active role in the development of the most valuable and special resource we have, our children. The Toys for Tots program is run by Marine Corps members in local communities for three months each year during their annual toy collection and distribution campaign.
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year. They then distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. All the toys collected locally and then distributed locally. Of course, the ultimate goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that hopefully, will assist them in some small way to become future responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens.
There are multiple ways that we can support the Marine Corps and their great Toys for Tots program. To offer your support, please consider the following options. There is a wealth of information on their very easy-to-use national website, toysfortots.org where you can make donations, you can request a toy for a child in need, or arrange to drop off toys.
Further, there is additional local information, including a list of local drop off sites in Marquette County. I also recently spoke with our wonderfully dedicated local coordinator for Toy for Tots, Mr. Robert Bannan. If needed, he can be contacted at 906-361-6106.
To help Toys for Tots continue to support our local children in need, along with your other charitable donations, please consider offering your support of this great effort to help bring some Holiday joy to those less fortunate children in our area. On behalf of Toys for Tots and our area children in need, we thank you.
Editor's note: Dr. Jim Surrell, author of "SOS (Stop Only Sugar) Diet," has his practice at the Digestive Health Clinic at Marquette General Health System. Requests for health topics for this column are encouraged.