A Christmas Tradition Continues
Written By
Admin
January 12, 2024

A Christmas Tradition Continues

Christmas doesn’t usually come in a package, but for America’s less fortunate children, it can certainly help. 

The primary goal of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, founded in 1991 as the active arm of the Marine Toys for Tots, is to bring the joy of Christmas and hope through the gift of a new toy to a child who may not otherwise receive one.  

Each year the program runs from October to December in more than 800 communities across all 50 states. Members of each community will drop new, unwrapped toys in collection boxes at local businesses. Coordinators pick up the toys, sort them by age and gender, and then distribute the toys to less fortunate children. 

But while Toys for Tots coordinators organize the main campaign, its success is entirely dependent on the generosity of the people who donate toys. Local business participation and national corporation support also help boost the Toys for Tots message to the public. 

In 2023, Toys for Tots distributed 351,795 toys to 65,408 children, according to the company’s website. 

When it came to selecting the next contribution for the Atlantic Cares program donation given monthly by Atlantic Logistics, Marine Toys for Tots was an easy choice. 

The company has supported Toys for Tots for three consecutive years as the December recipient for Atlantic Cares. This was Director of Marketing Brooke Reiley's first time engaging with Toys for Tots and the experience didn't disappoint.

"This is such a special organization and to be able to be a small part of helping to keep the magic of Christmas alive for children in our community is an amazing gift in itself. If you are looking for ways to volunteer this holiday season, especially as a family, this is the organization to commit your time," Reiley said.

The annual effort is led by Logistics Specialist Tali Hooper. The organization is very close to her heart.

"It is such a blessing to be able to help at an amazing charity like Toys for Tots. This year there were gifts that focused more on teenage girls and boys which was really great to see," she said.

The 75th anniversary of Toys for Tots in 2022 was a record year for donations, with more than 24 million toys given to 10 million children around the country, retired Marine Corps Col. Ted Silver, vice president for marketing and development for Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, told The Marine Corps Times

In the past 76 years, 652 million toys, games and books have been given to 291 million children during the holidays. 

Many Marines who serve with Toys for Tots have long-standing connections to the foundation, like Staff Sergeant James Caldwell, who received toys as a child in foster care before he became part of the organization as an adult. 

“About eight years ago … I was a door greeter that year on distribution day,” SSgt Caldwell said. “We had a foster group coming that day, and I handed this little girl a bag of toys. As she looked at me, she reached into her bag and [handed me this stuffed animal] and said, ‘Someone needs to make sure you get a toy, too.” 

Ssgt Caldwell had to walk away for several minutes to stop crying. 

“That right there sealed the deal for me and why I have always been a huge advocate for Toys for Tots and done everything I could to make the Program better and to help [wherever I’m stationed.” 

Ssgt Caldwell’s story is one of many like it posted on the Toys for Tots national website. 

There are many ways to support Toys for Tots, including donating toys, time or service, allowing Marines to place a collection bin at your place of business, allowing Marines to use a company storehouse to store toys, and making tax-deductible donations. 

Many organizations have toy drives to support their local Toys for Tots campaigns. Even Disney, which donated more than 90,000 toys in 2023, held a drive. Disney has a long connection with Toys for Tots. The year it was founded, Walt Disney and his team of animators designed the Toys for Tots logo, which is still used today. 

Click here to learn more about Jacksonville’s Toys for Tots initiative.

You can donate online by clicking here.

ABOUT ATLANTIC LOGISTICS

Atlantic Logistics provides expedited truckload and partial service on flatbeds, stepdecks, lowbeds, vans, and reefers throughout the United States and Canada. Moving over-dimensional/over-weight freight with specialized equipment, Atlantic Logistics is an approved Department of Defense and General Services Administration broker, qualify as a woman-owned business, and are members of the Transportation Intermediaries Association (TIA), the Transportation Marketing & Sales Association (TMSA), and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals (CSCMP) and the National Defense Transportation Association (NDTA).

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