Marine Corps Base Hawaii participates in Toys for Tots

Marine Corps Base Hawaii participates in Toys for Tots

Then SSgt Rafael Arriaga Jr., Toys for Tots coordinator, 4th Force Reconnaissance Company, chooses several toys to buy at Toys ‘R' Us, Dec. 1, 2010. Volunteers are accepting unwrapped toys and monetary donations during several events this year. Photo by Christine Cabalo.

MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII (Nov. 18, 2013) - Every year, for the last 49 years, Marines aboard Marine Corps Base Hawaii have volunteer and help collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Toys for Tots mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December and distribute them to less fortunate children within the community for Christmas.

Toys for Tots became a nationwide campaign in 1948 after United States Marine reservists collected 5,000 toys to help children in Los Angeles in 1947. Major Bill Hendricks founded the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.

The 2012 Toys for Tots campaign distributed approximately 16.8 million toys to more than seven million children according to http://toysfortots.org. Hawaii collected more than 45,000 toys last year for less fortunate children in the community.

The program collects and distributes new toys in communities where a Marine Corps reserve unit is located or where the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation authorizes a campaign.

A Marine Corps League Detachment, Marine veterans or a group of men or women can conduct a Toys for Tots campaign according to http://toysfortots.org. Campaigns conduct various activities including golf tournaments, races and other voluntary events to help build interest for the foundation.

"There is a Toys for Tots Christmas concert on Dec. 1 at the Hawaii Theater in Honolulu at 2 p.m.," said Cpl Alex Dutton, a drummer with U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific Band. "The event supports helping less fortunate kids receive gifts at Christmas."

Nearly 25,000 Marines, Marine Corps League members, veteran Marines and volunteers participate in the annual campaigns.

The program has coordinators and volunteers who gather and deliver toys and help conduct events to collect toys within a community. The donation are a combination of those purchased by the foundation with fundraised money and collected from donors.

"I don't personally collect gifts," Dutton explained. "Other Marines do, but I feel great about providing music to the public of Hawaii (at the winter concert) and supporting a cause to help children in a similar situation that I was in as a child."

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.