Sgt Keith Roy, Assistant Toys for Tots Coordinator for Alpha Company 1st Battalion 25th Marines, was our guest and speaker on November 29.  His unit is based in Brunswick and has over 200 toy drop-off locations around the area.  These boxes be picked up between December 2nd and 15th and taken them back to the Toys for Tots storage hangar at the Brunswick airport.  At Brunswick, six active duty Marines will sort and group toys by age and sex, finishing by December 20 so the toys can be distributed by Christmas.
Sgt Roy told us that 1947 was an important year for Toys for Tots.  In that year, the wife of Maj Bill Hendricks made a Raggedy Anne doll and asked her husband to find a charity that could give it to an underprivileged child in Los Angeles for Christmas.  He was unable to find a charity that could do that, so his wife told him to start one.  That year, Maj Hendricks was able to collect and distribute over 5000 toys to the children of Los Angeles.  The Marine Corp took notice and adopted the foundation in 1948 and it became part of the Marine Corp Reserves.
During the Korean War, Marine Reservists were called to duty and people in communities all over the country came together to keep the Toys for Tots program running until their return. That tradition of community support continues to this day.  Many businesses place drop boxes at their location, host fundraisers, provide advertising, provide transportation, and/or provide manpower to help sort the toys.
Last year, this one unit served over 14,000 families, providing over 40,000 toys. They largely work through local non-profits who refer families and children. Even with last year's staggering number, Sgt Roy told us that the number of requests for help is on track to be higher this year.  He ended by asking us to support the children, support the Marines and to support Toys for Tots so that no child will feel forgotten this Christmas.  We are pleased to report that $366 was raised and several toys were donated at our meeting.
Deb Shangraw with Sgt Keith Roy