|Toys for Tots - Chicago, IL|
(Left) Capt. Frank and Betty Andersen, (Center) "Tot" and Santa, (Right) Mayor Richard J. Daley, and his wife Eleanor
Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Diane Hendricks asked her husband, Bill, a major with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves in Los Angeles, to deliver a doll she had made to an agency that gave toys to needy children at Christmas. But, when he discovered that no such agency existed, Diane encouraged him to start one. That Christmas, Bill and a group of other Marine Reservists delivered 5,000 toys to needy children.
Their project was so successful that, in 1948, the Marine Corps adopted the Toys for Tots program and expanded it nationwide.
Bill Hendricks, a Marine Reservist on weekends, was in civilian life, the Director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio. This enabled him to convince a vast array of celebrities to support Toys for Tots. In 1948, Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo, which we use today.
In 1956, Nat "King" Cole, Peggy Lee, and Vic Damone recorded a Toys for Tots theme song written by Sammy Fain and Paul Webster.
In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity of the U. S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.
Since 1947, Marines have distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children in approximately 500 communities across the United States and Puerto Rico. The initial objective that remains the hallmark of the Toys for Tots program today is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children.” Without a doubt, the U.S. Marines have held true to that objective.
For more information on this great program, click on Toys for Tots Foundation.
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