Support the Toys for Tots 2009 Holiday Toy Drive

For this weekly legislative column, I would like to share some uplifting news with my friends and neighbors by inviting you all to join me in supporting the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots 2009 Holiday Season Toy Drive, which I am once again sponsoring this year. The Toys for Tots Program began in 1947 when U.S. Marine Corps Reservist Bill Hendricks’ wife, Diane, created a homemade doll and asked him to donate it to an organization that would give it to a disadvantaged child for Christmas. When they determined that no such agency existed, Diane told Bill he needed to create one. That year, he and a group of fellow Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children…and a tradition was born.The 1947 program was so successful that it was expanded in 1948 to a nationwide campaign. From 1947 through 1979, Marines collected and distributed new and used toys. On Reserve drill weekends during October, November and December, Reserve Marines refurbished the used toys. From Christmas 1980 through the present, Marines have collected and distributed only new toys due to their expanded role in the nation’s defense, and health and safety issues surrounding used toys. Additionally, the Marines felt that distributing used toys sent the wrong message to needy children. Their goal was to deliver a message of hope to help build self-esteem and motivate these children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. They believed “a shiny new toy is the best means of accomplishing this goal.”In the late 1980s, the Marine Corps determined that a non-profit charity was needed as part of the national Toys for Tots program. In 1991, the Secretary of Defense authorized the Marine Corps to recognize and work with such a charity. In September of that year, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation became an operational organization and has been the fundraising and support arm of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program ever since. Over the past 62 years, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program has distributed more than 400 million toys to more than 188 million needy children. In fact, the program has made the U.S. Marine Corps the unchallenged leader in looking after less fortunate children during the holidays. The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, over its 18 years in existence, has supplemented local toy collections with more than 81.3 million toys valued at more than $487 million. It has also provided promotional and support materials valued at over $6.3 million.Although the program has changed many times throughout the years, the objective has remained the same – “to bring the joy of Christmas to America’s needy children.” I am honored to be able to once again partner with the Marine Corps Reserve in sponsoring this important community initiative. In that holiday spirit, I ask you and your loved ones to join me in making a child’s dream come true and consider supporting our 2009 Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Drive. From now until Tuesday, December 15, bring a new, unwrapped toy to any of these participating drop-off locations:Arby’s Restaurant280 Hamilton Street, Geneva, CanandaiguaCanandaigua Chamber of Commerce 280 Hamilton Street, Geneva CanandaiguaSeneca County Chamber VA113 S. Main Street, Canandaigua 2020 Seneca Falls Waterloo Rd., Seneca Falls 400 Fort Hill Avenue, CanandaiguaAssembly Minority Leader Brian M. Kolb’s District Office607 W. Washington Street, Geneva Together, we can make the 2009 Toys for Tots Holiday Toy Drive another outstanding success and, in so doing, bring some hope, happiness and holiday cheer to less fortunate children throughout our community.

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