Toys for Tots began in 1947 with one U.S. Marine Unit delivering 5,000 toys to less fortunate children in Los Angeles. Today, the organization has representation in nearly 760 communities and all 50 states, delivering joy to our nation’s neediest children. With the significant support of Toys“R”Us over the past decade, the Marines have fulfilled the Christmas dreams of an average of 7 million children each year.
Learn How Your Listeners Can Get Involved in the 11th Annual Celebration by Donating Toys or Cash at Local Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us Stores
Lieutenant General Pete Osman, USMC (Ret)
President and Chief Executive Officer for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation
STATISTICS ON LOCAL TOY DRIVES AVAILABLE BY MARKET
There are currently 14.7 million U.S. children living below the federal poverty line. Moreover, 1 out of every 3 children lives in a family where neither parent has full-time, year-round employment. Given the current economic climate, millions of children risk disappointment on Christmas morning as their parents struggle to provide the basic essentials of food and shelter for their little ones.
Fortunately, parents can turn to the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation during this time of the year. Unfortunately, toy donations over the past few years have declined, so we are hoping to reach your listeners who may have the extra resources to purchase toys for less fortunate children in your community.
Since 1947, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve units have conducted Toys for Tots campaigns in communities nationwide to bring the joy of the holidays and a message of hope to America’s most deserving children. Last year, Toys for Tots conducted programs in 762 communities – covering all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands – delivering 16.8 million toys to nearly 7 million children.
These gifts offer children hope, recognition and a positive memory to cherish for a lifetime. Many of the books, games and sports equipment that we provide make a significant contribution to these children’s educational, social and physical development.
President and Chief Executive Officer for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, retired Marine Corps Lt. General Pete Osman, will discuss how listeners can deliver joy to a child in need in their community this holiday season. General Osman will provide details about the individual need in specific markets, the status of the local toy drive and where listeners can donate. He will also suggest toys to donate that meet Toys for Tots needs in your community. Additionally, General Osman will discuss the Toys for Tots Foundation’s special partnership with Toys“R”Us and the Toys“R”Us Children’s Fund.
This year, the partnership with Toys“R”Us is entering its 11th year. As the largest retail partner in the history of Toys for Tots, Toys“R”Us, Inc. has launched award-winning campaigns that have raised over $35.5 million and collected more than 4 million toys for the organization since the partnership began in 2004. The success of the Toys“R”Us campaign exemplifies the commitment of corporate partners helping the organization by collecting toy and monetary contributions to ensure every child receives a toy on Christmas morning.
• The increased requests for toys. With the long-term impacts of this sluggish economy, families are struggling to put a gift under the tree.
• The struggle to raise toys and dollars. In recent years Marines and volunteers have had a number of challenges to raise toys for their annual holiday program. Many families, who have given in the past, no longer have the extra cash to purchase a toy for a less fortunate child.
• The number of children impacted. General Osman will provide an update on this year’s toy drive in your local market, including the number of children served and status on toy collections, to date.
• How and where to help. Toys are being collected at all Toys“R”Us and Babies“R”Us locations nationwide through Sunday, 7 December, as well as online through The Great Big Shaq-A-Claus Wish List. Cash will be collected at all “R”Us stores through December 24 and online at Toysrus.com/ToysforTots or Toysfortots.org.
• Celebrity Support. This year NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal – a.k.a. Shaq-A-Claus – is reporting for Toys for Tots duty with a new mission: to #PlayItForward. Throughout the campaign, Shaq-A-Claus is asking supporters to take the ultimate “un-selfie” – a photo of themselves donating a toy in any Toys“R”Us store across the country. For every selfie shared using #PlayItForward, Toys“R”Us will donate an additional toy to Toys for Tots, ensuring even more children in need have a toy to open on Christmas morning.
• Giving Tuesday Initiative. On #GivingTuesday (Tuesday, December 2) – a social movement designed to kick off the season of giving – Toys“R”Us will donate two toys to Toys for Tots for every selfie shared using #PlayItForward.
About the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation: The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a not-for-profit organization authorized by the U.S. Marine Corps to provide fundraising and other necessary support for the annual U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. Now in its 67th year, Toys for Tots provides joy and a message of hope to less fortunate children through the gift of a new toy or book during the Christmas holiday season. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org