Toys for Tots is an American holiday tradition. This is to clear up questions regarding the local Toys for Tots program and the statement from the local Sauk Valley Marine Corps League Detachment printed a few weeks ago.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is a recognized 501(c)(3) non-profit charity and the authorized fundraising/support organization for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. It’s a nationwide program with approximately 750 campaigns.
In areas that don’t have a Marine Corps Reserve Unit, the foundation authorizes a local Marine Corps League Detachment or community volunteer to conduct the Toys for Tots campaign.
Last year, the Toys for Tots Foundation directed the local coordinator to separate from the Sauk Valley Marine Corps League. This year, the coordinator was again authorized to conduct the Whiteside County Toys for Tots Campaign separate and apart from the local Marine Corps League.
Is the local Toys for Tots campaign affiliated with the Marines? Yes – at the national level, and many of our volunteers served our nation as Marines.
We follow the guidelines set in the program manual, and as coordinators, we’re background checked and authorized by the foundation. One hundred percent of the money we collect locally stays in our community to purchase toys from local businesses and help those less fortunate.
In 2011, we served 4,800 children in Whiteside County. This year, to more effectively service our area, we’re coordinating efforts with the local Salvation Army. “Operation Holiday Hope” Toys for Tots will provide toys, and The Salvation Army will provide food baskets and other items to enhance the holiday.
You may sign up for both programs with just one application through either organization. Contact me at 779-245-0086 or The Salvation Army at 815-625-1622. Deadline to sign up is Dec. 1. God bless.
Note to readers – Paula Chavez is the Toys for Tots coordinator for Whiteside County.