Since 1947, the Marine Corps has collected toys to distribute as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community.
Their goal is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, "a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens."
The first Toys for Tots toy distribution was in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, founded Toys for Tots in Los Angeles. That first year, 5,000 toys were collected and distributed for Christmas. Hendricks, an executive for Warner Brothers Studio in LA, was inspired by his wife, Diane, when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but couldn't find any organization to do so.
The next year, the program was officially handed over to the Marine Corps Reserves. Hendricks talked his friend, Walt Disney,into designing the first Toys for Tots poster.
New unwrapped toys can be dropped off at several locations in Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha. For more information, visit the website at toysfortots.org.