The goal of the Toys for Tots program is simple: in an effort to help give under-privileged children a more enjoyable holiday experience, the organization collects donations of new toys from all over the country to give to these children during the holiday season. The program has always been closely tied with the United States Marine Corps Reserve, and nothing demonstrates this connection more than when the Secretary of Defense approves the program as an official mission of the USMC Reserve.
Up until 1979 Marine Reservists and other volunteers would not only collect new toys, but also work to refurbish used toys. In 1980, the policy of the program changed to accept only new toys because the USMC reserves were not able to dedicate the drill hours to work on toys and to avoid certain legal issues.
Through 2009 the Toys for Tots program and its affiliated non-profit foundation have collected almost 500 million toys that have been given out to children in need all across the country. The program has received numerous awards and commendations, especially in recent years. In 2003, Toys for Tots was not only named the “Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year” by the DMA Nonprofit Foundation, but it was also deemed the Reader’s Digest Best Children’s Charity as well. Charity Navigator also awarded the program four-star ratings for both 2005 and 2006.
Those interested in helping the Toys for Tots effort are encouraged to visit Headquarter Honda in Clermont, FL in order to make a donation. The program just asks for new, unwrapped toys that can be distributed to children across the country; online donations (http://www.toysfortots.org/