Spreading Christmas Joy Since 1948

Beginning in 1947, Major Bill Hendricks and a group of marines started delivering toys to needy children.  However, the idea started with his wife Diane, when she created a homemade doll and she asked Hendricks to deliver to an organization that delivers toys to needy children during Christmastime.

When he explained to her that there was no such thing, she encouraged him to start one himself. Heeding her advice, he created an organization and dubbed it “Toys for Tots” that took flight nationwide by 1948.

The sole goal of the program is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children,” in order to transform them into upstanding and productive citizens. On the side, Hendricks worked in public relations for Warner Brothers studio, which enabled him to receive support from various celebrities.

Furthermore, Walt Disney himself designed the Toys for Tots logo, which is used to this day. He was also one of the many celebrities that helped expand and support Toys for Tots. Between 1947 and 1979, the Marine Corps held collections for new and/or gently used toys. Throughout the next few years up until 1999, Toys for Tots went through various procedures to become legalized.

Even after the attacks of 9/11, the U.S. Marine Corps were still able to deliver to less fortunate children in society. In 2001, Toys for Tots celebrated their 10th anniversary, and in 2003, Reader’s Digest dubbed them “America’s Best Children’s Charity.”

During its 62-year existence, the Marine Corps have been able to distribute over 400 million toys to over 188 million needy children in our country. Each year, toys are collected to give children the joy of Christmas they may never have experienced in their lifetime.