“Semper Fidelis” can be spotted throughout Pender and Onslow County. Bumper stickers, flags, and other badges of honor and testaments to loyalty are prevalent in the region. Marine pride is strong and, with Camp Lejeune only 30 miles from Topsail Beach, that comes as no surprise.
The men and women of the US Marines selflessly pledge to help keep us safe. In upkeeping their proud tradition, they also join with the Toys for Tots program annually to bring hope to thousands of children. Every year since 1947, the US Marines have conducted a Toys for Tots drive running from October to December.
“Toys for Tots began in 1947 as the brain child of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks, Actually it was his wife, Diane, who was the real inspiration. She had crafted a few handcrafted dolls and asked Bill to deliver them to an agency that supports children in need.” For more history of the program, please check out their story here.
This year on November 8th at the Main Exchange on Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune they began collecting toys. The goal of this operation is to help those less fortunate throughout the country. By remembering those who are struggling, the Marine Toys for Tots seeks to provide “a tangible sign of hope to economically disadvantaged children.”
This year will be Staff Sgt. William Gillespie’s first as the Toys for Tots Coordinator in Eastern North Carolina. In an interview with the Camp Lejeune Globe, Gillespie said, “For me, I just think every child should have a toy for Christmas. Giving back like this brings the community closer together.”
Since its beginning 71 years ago, the Toys for Tots organization has distributed over 500 million toys. Through their affiliation with our Marines they serve to “play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources, our children.”
Social media for the Marine Toys for Tots is filled with praise for the donation drive. Scores of commenters tell stories about giving a toy year after year. It has become a holiday tradition for many families. But among all the commendation there are also many men and women asking how they get these toys to their own children. For everyone willing to give, Toys for Tots still needs you to help reach every child in need this season.
This year it is easier than ever to contribute to this worthwhile charity. If you are one of the many people who own Amazon’s Alexa by simply saying, “Alexa, donate to Toys for Tots” you can donate a toy and Amazon, too, will make a matching donation.
Alexa pre-selects an item from the Toys for Tots Charity List and tells you the price of the item before confirming your donation. However, if you want to choose among other items, see the Toys for Tots full Charity List at smile.amazon.com/toysfortots.
For every toy donated to Toys for Tots via Alexa during the campaign, Amazon will also donate a toy to Toys for Tots, up to $100,000 in matching toy donations (based on the purchase price of donated toys, excluding discounts, shipping & handling, taxes or service charges). Promotion ends December 31, 2018.
Unopened, new toys can be dropped off directly at Camp Lejeune’s Main Exchange building. Additionally, monetary donations are accepted at http://donate.toysfortots.org.