Christmas is a time of joy, happiness, and goodwill. It is a time of giving and helping those who are less fortunate than us, especially impoverished children. For over half a century, one organization – the U.S. Marine Corps – is the unchallenged leader in looking after America’s needy children at Christmas.
In 1947, Marine Major Bill Hendricks – with the support of members of his Los Angeles Marine Corps Reserve unit – collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. Bill’s program was so successful that in 1948, the Marine Corps adopted it and expanded it nationwide as the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. In the intervening years, Marines have conducted successful Toys for Tots campaigns each year, collecting and distributing over 418,000,000 toys.
The program has enjoyed the support of an array of notable Americans. Walt Disney designed the logo. Nat “King” Cole and Peggy Lee recorded the Toys for Tots song. Bob Hope, John Wayne, Brooke Shields, Johnny Carson, Garth Brooks, Tim Allen, Kenny Rogers, and Billy Ray Cyrus are but a few of the long list of celebrities who have used their time and talent to promote Toys for Tots. First Lady Barbara Bush served as the honorary national chairperson in 1992 and in her autobiography named Toys for Tots as one of her favorite charities.
Today, Toys for Tots is the Marine Corps’ premier community action program. To many Americans, Christmas isn’t complete without the image of uniformed Marines collecting and distributing toys to needy children of their communities. Over the past 11 years, Marines have distributed an average of over 15,000,000 toys annually, and brought the joy of Christmas to an average of more than 6,300,000 less fortunate children each year.
Marine Corps Reserve Units, located throughout the nation, conduct toy collection and distribution campaigns in the communities near their Reserve Centers each year. To expand the nationwide coverage of Toys for Tots, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation authorizes Marine Corps League Detachments and Local Community Organizations to conduct Toys for Tots campaigns in communities without a local Marine Reserve Unit.
The Herbert A Littleton Detachment 1261 of Mena, Arkansas is the Organization in Polk County that is authorized to collect toys for the Toys for Tots Program. The Detachment has located Toys for Tots Collection Boxes throughout Polk County and also in Norman Arkansas. The Detachment also conducts a Toys for Tots Telethon each year through the Assistance of Rich Mountain Community and it Television Station. This Telethon will take place between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Saturday 7 December. Anyone wishing to support the Toys for Tots Program in Polk County and Montgomery County can do so by placing new, unwrapped toys in any of the Toys for Tots Collection Boxes that are distributed throughout the County and/or Norman, Arkansas. Supporters can also contribute Toys and/or Money by bringing them to the Rich Mountain Community College Toys for Tots Telethon or by calling the Telethon and making a pledge at numbers which will be made available over the air during the telethon.
Boxes are also available at the following locations: Mena Mountain Resort, Acorn School District, VA Clinic, USA Drug, Chambers Bank, Diamond Bank, CarQuest Auto, Mena High School, Limetree Restaurant, PaPa’s Mexican Cafe, First United Methodist Church, Curves, Branding Iron, Dollar General Store, RMCC, Spinelli’s, First National Bank, Union Bank, The Look, the Polk County Courthouse and Healthy Connections.
The Toys for Tots Program is made possible only through the support of the communities within which it is located. While the Marines and their representative’s head up the effort it is the generosity of the local business leaders that allow Marines to locate collection receptacles in their stores. Also, Last but most important it is the generosity of the people who donate toys that truly make the program a success.
The Herbert A Littleton Detachment 1261 will be picking up all the Toys for Tots Boxes and the toys in them on December 6th so they can prepare them for distribution. The Detachment is hoping that all boxes will be full. With the help and generosity of the community we can work together and make this a good Christmas for Polk County and our children. You can make a difference by make a donation that can make a difference and bring a smile to a child that otherwise would go without.