How Marines bring the gift of a smile to children on Christmas morning

Matt Saintsing
November 28, 2018 - 3:03 pm

Courtesy of Toys for Tots


Toys for Tots has been bringing the joy of Christmas, and sending a message of hope to American children in need, since 1947, growing tremendously over the years by providing millions of toys for countless kids on Christmas morning. 

And this year, in conjunction with Marine reserve units in over 800 communities stretching from big cities to the countryside, the revered nonprofit will bring a hopeful message in the form of a toy to millions of America’s less fortunate children. 

For Pete Osman, a retired Marine Lt. Gen. and CEO of Toys for Tots, the mission is all about the kids. “It’s kind of hard to believe, but in a country as affluent in America the fact is we have about 15 million children that live in poverty,” Osman tells Connecting Vets. 

“Those of us with children realize how difficult it would be to have Christmas around the corner and the thought that you just cannot afford to go out and purchase any toys for your children, that’s tough.”

Even though the program is an official mission of the United States Marine Corps Reserve Osman says the program is 100 percent voluntary, with both reservists and former Marines stepping up to put a smile on a child’s face on Christmas morning. 

Here’s how it works, local coordinators with the Marine Reserve place collection bins around shopping malls and in front of local businesses where donors can provide a new, unwrapped toy.

But if you can’t find one around, or if you can’t bring yourself to spend just one more night holiday shopping, Osman says the organization gladly accepts cash donations by clicking here

And as far as nonprofits go, Osman says 97 cents out of every dollar goes towards purchasing toys. The other three percent goes toward fundraising efforts. “Not one dime donated goes to pay anyone’s salary,” he adds. 

For those who participate in the annual toy drive, Osman says “they don’t quite view Christmas morning the same way again.” 

“The Marines love doing it, and we know we’re going to make a difference in a different way.” 

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