Students help out with Toys for Tots campaign

Karli Bietz, Staff Writer

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Mrs. McKolosky’s students are helping holiday wishes come true for needy students in the Clearfield County area. Recently, these students helped sort toys for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

Sixty years ago, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program was founded, and since then has distributed more than 313 million toys to 151 million children. They have also supplemented the collection of local campaigns over a 13-year period, providing more than 47.4 million toys valued at $243 million.

The program began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, as well as a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angles collected and gave out 5,000 toys to children in need. Bill’s wife, Diane, gave him the idea after she gave a Raggedy Ann Doll to Bill for him to deliver to an organization that would later give it to a child during Christmas. When she found out an organization didn’t exist, she told her husband to start one.

After seeing the success of the 1947 campaign, the Marine Corps expanded their campaign to be nationwide in 1948. During this year, a campaign was set up in every town across the nation that had a Marine Reserve Center. Each year from 1948 on, the Marine Corps have conducted nationwide campaigns.

Bill Hendricks was the director of public relations for Warner Brothers Studio. With this position, he was able to convince many celebrities to support Toys for Tots. During 1948, Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo that is still used today. Walt Disney also produced the first poster to promote the program.

The 2003 Toys for Tots campaign was the most successful in history. The Marines were able to distribute 15 million toys to 6.5 million needy children. Local campaigns were placed in 456 towns across the nation. This year is also known for being the most extensive coverage ever. For more information, visit www.toysfortots.org.