Marine Corps Reserve seeks Toys for Tots donations
(From left) Laura Vernon and Allison Marburger place donations in the Toys for Tots collection bin.
Nov. 23, 2015
SLIPPERY ROCK, Pa. - Dennis Johnston, equipment operator for Slippery Rock University facilities and grounds, has a special place in his heart for all children, but especially those who come from under-resourced homes and who face the prospect of a Christmas without hope. That's one of the reasons that he's so passionate about the annual Toys for Tots program sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps and the Marine Corps Reserve.
A former, or as some like to say "non-practicing," Marine, Johnston is the Toys for Tots coordinator for the Bantam Marine Detachment #743 located in Butler, Pennsylvania.
"Our goal," Johnston said, "is to provide toys, books and other gifts to less fortunate children and through those gifts bring the joy of Christmas and the hope of a better future."
Johnston and his fellow marine reservists are counting on SRU faculty, staff and students to help them fulfill their goal. They've distributed six boxes throughout campus and are hoping the campus community will fill them with new, unwrapped toys and books.
Contributions will be accepted until Dec. 16 and then the Marine Detachment will collect the donations and distribute them to qualified, needy children in the local community.
"Every child deserves a little Christmas and cheer," said Johnston. "And if we can help play a small part in that, so be it."
Marine reservist Major Bill Hendricks founded Toys for Tots in 1947 and for the next 40 some years the annual event was organized across the country by local Marines and volunteers.
In 1991, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity was established as the official fundraising, funding and support organization for the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation was created at the behest of the U. S. Marine Corps and provides support in accordance with a Memorandum of Understanding with the Commander, Marine Forces Reserve, who directs the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. The Foundation has supported Toys for Tots since 1991. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as a official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.
Toys For Tots is one of the nation's top rated charities with 97 percent of donations going directly to the mission of providing toys, books and other gifts to less fortunate children. The remaining 3 percent is spent to support fundraising expenses - not one donated dollar goes to pay for salaries or any other manpower costs.
Since its inception, the Marine Toys for Tots Program has distributed more than 494 million toys to more than 230 million less fortunate children.
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