Guest Blogger: Kelley Hardison, Deputy Vice President of Marketing & Development, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

Just think how gratifying it would be to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to a less fortunate child. Well, every year millions of Americans and dozens of corporations do so, and they do so through the Marine Toys for Tots Program.

Since 1947 the U.S. Marine Corps has conducted their annual Toys for Tots drive where new toys and books are collected and distributed to less fortunate children all across our nation. Last year, through the gift of new toys and books, more than 7 million children experienced the joy of Christmas and received a message of hope that would otherwise not have been there.

It is only through the generosity of the American public and our Corporate Sponsors that this has been possible. Joining the Marines in this year’s campaign is a new Corporate Sponsor, Alex and Ani. We are very excited to have Alex and Ani as part of the Toys for Tots Team. We know that their generous support will make a huge difference in the lives of countless less fortunate children this Christmas.

I invite you to join Alex and Ani and help support this year’s Marine Toys for Tots Campaign. Dropping a new unwrapped toy in one of our collection boxes or making an online donation at www.toysfortots.org will allow you to make that very special difference as well.

Written by Kelley Hardison, Deputy Vice President of Marketing & Development, Marine Toys for Tots Foundation

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Marine Toys For Tots Quaker Oats Story

“It was Christmas Eve and Delores, a single mother struggling to make ends meet, was working at the kitchen table painting a round Quaker Oats box. She was trying to make it look like a little toy drum. This would be her four year old son’s only toy for Christmas. She hoped he wouldn’t recognize that it had been a box of cereal earlier in the day. She had two straws that would be the drum sticks. Delores had nothing for her two year old daughter, but was hopeful that she was still too young to really understand what Christmas was all about. Someone had given her a scrawny, ‘Charlie Brown’ Christmas tree for her family to enjoy, but there were no presents under it.

As Christmas Eve continued Delores became more depressed at her situation. Her husband had left her and the children, she had no real family to count on and she was penniless. The job she had paid barely enough for a scant one-bedroom apartment and put a little food on the table. She could handle not having nice things, but it hurt deeply not being able to provide for her children this Christmas like other parents were able to do.

At the height of her misery there came an unexpected knock at her door. It took her a minute to respond since she had to hide the toy drum she was painting in the kitchen. When she finally got to the door she found her two curious children already standing there. She then opened the door but found no one there; only a box with toys was left on the stoop. A couple of the toys were for a little boy about four and a couple were for a little girl about two. Of course both children were excited and they just knew that Santa Claus had left those gifts for them. Delores knew differently. She watched as two Marines got into their van and drove away to their next Toys for Tots house. With a smile, Delores put the oats back into a very colorful Quaker Oat box.

For more information on the Motorcycle Bangle click here. To learn more about Marine Toys for Tots Foundation please visit www.toysfortots.org.

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