The 'Toys For Tots' program is the largest outreach program for the Department of Defense.
Since 1947 Marines have collected thousands of toys to distribute to less fortunate families around the Christmas holiday. This year the campaign is in full swing and Gunnery Sergeant Kenneth Starkey, the MCLB's Toys For Tots Coordinator says they have an aggressive goal to meet. "Last year we distributed 40,000 toys to 7,000 children and this year the goal is higher. We want to outdo last year's marks. We want to hit about 7,500 children with at least 42,000 toys" says Starkey.
If you don't have time to shop for a toy, officials say that's okay because they collect cash, checks, and you can donate online with a credit card as well. One of the major events is a "stuff the truck" fundraiser December 1 â" December 3, 2011 at the Ledo Road Wal-Mart. Hospital Corpsman Lennox Bennett says marines will be outside all day collecting toys. "We're going to be there from 7 in the morning until 6 at night, and we're asking everyone in the community to please come out and support us by donating a new unwrapped toy.
The Marines have several events planned over the next few weeks to collect toys for their campaign including the stuff the truck at Wal-Mart, a golf tournament, and a concert at Darton College. Organizers say they have to reach all different kinds of audiences because Southwest Georgia's children deserve to have a Merry Christmas.