Toys for Tots - Again!
Posted 11/26/01

This column ran last year in October.  I'm a little late this year, but I wanted to remind everyone of a charity near and dear to my heart, and since I said it all last year, I thought I'd re-run that piece.  Here ya go!

As adults collecting toys, we really have it made.  We can eat our cake and have it too - we're reliving the joy of our childhoods through our collecting habits of our old age.  But there are lots of children out there who don't have the kind of childhood we had - or the kind of childhood we wish we'd had.  These children are less fortunate than we were, or at least most certainly less fortunate than we are now.

In 1947, a woman named Diane Hicks had made a Raggedy Ann doll as a craft project, and decided that it should go to a less fortunate child at Christmas time.  She asked her husband, Bill Hendricks, a major in the Marine Corp Reserves in Los Angeles, to find an agency that could deliver this toy appropriately.  When he found that none existed, she suggested that he start one.  That first year, he collected and distributed 5000 toys to needy children.  And thus was born Toys for Tots.

The program was so successful that in 1948, the Marine Corp adopted it and turned it nationwide.  It's been delivering on it's goal to bring the joy of Christmas to America's needy children ever since.

In 1999, Toys for Tots surpassed all previous records, delivering almost 14 million toys to nearly 6 million children in the United States.  I'm proud to say that I've helped in those numbers for the past few years, and I'd like you to consider giving back some of your love of toys to children that might not ever realize just how wonderful it can be.

Each year for the past five years, the toy collecting organization I co-founded here in Michigan, ATOM (Action Toy Organization of Michigan), has had a club drive to collect toys for someone other than ourselves.  Each year we've donated more than the last, and I'm proud to be part of a such a considerate and giving group.

Last year, we teamed up with our sister organization, the MSWCC (Michigan Star Wars Collectors Club) to do a joint venture.  I expect even larger numbers than in previous years, and it's wonderful to realize what good we are doing.

So here's your call to arms.  You collect toys because of the love you developed for those silly playthings of your youth.  By giving new, unopened toys to your local Toys for Tots campaigns, you can give other children the chance to develop that same bond, to have that special friend in Pooh or Tigger, or to learn just how much fun they can have with a couple G.I. Joes and an empty lot.

When you see those toys on clearance, think about it.  Is it really all that much to spend a little on bringing the joy to a child on Christmas morning?  I'd think most of us would agree that helping kids is the greatest work we can do.

To get further information on the program, and contact information for local coordinators, check the official web site at  There will be drop off bins at many of your local stores, including Toys R Us again this year.  Do what you can, even if it's only a little - every bit helps.

And that's it for this week's sermonizing!

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