COVINGTON, Ga. — District 113 state representative-elect Sharon Henderson, D-Covington, announced Friday she would be hosting a Toys for Tots giveaway Saturday, Dec. 12, from 9 a.m.-3 p.m.
Henderson said the while many families continue hurting during the COVID-19 pandemic, struggling to keep food on the table, they likely won’t have the resources to purchase a toy for their children.
“Children may not understand why there are just a few toys (or) possibly no toys under the Christmas tree this year,” she said. “We are in a year full of hardships and setbacks, and many are hurting.”
Families can register their children to be considered for the Toys of Tots giveaway at https://fs4.formsite.com/PGXIJW/g1b2ndovpe/index.html. Once children are registered, parents will be contacted prior to Dec. 12 and given an appointment time and the address to the event. Henderson said the giveaway would be held at an undisclosed location in Covington.
Toys for Tots is a program that first began in 1947 at the hands of Maj. Bill Hendricks, a Marine Corps reserve, according to ToysforTots.org. When his wife, Diane, asked him to deliver a few of her handcrafted dolls to an agency that supports children in need, Hendricks said he couldn’t find one. That’s when his wife inspired him to just “start one.”
Hendricks and the Marines in his reserve unit in Los Angeles, California, collected and distributed 5,000 toys in 1947. Because of its success, all Marine Reserve Sites were directed to implement a Toys for Tots campaign in 1948, which transformed it into a national community action program.
Hendricks' civilian job was director of public relations at Warner Brothers Studios, according to the nonprofit’s website. He was friends with many celebrities who he asked to help support the program. As a personal friend and as a favor to Hendricks, Walt Disney designed the first Marine Toys for Tots poster, which included a miniature three-car train that was subsequently adopted as the Toys for Tots logo.
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, an IRS recognized 501 (c) (3) nonprofit charity, was established in 1991.
Since its inception 73 years ago, the program has distributed 584 million toys and supported 265 million children.
Today, the program distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million annually less fortunate children.
Anyone can donate or volunteer their time to the program. To learn more, log on to ToysforTots.org.