Editor: In 1947, a group of Marines recognized a need in this country and found a way to fill it—Toys for Tots. The program’s main purpose is to “bring the joy of Christmas to America’s less fortunate children.” Receiving the gift of a shiny, new toy (something many take for granted) can make a tremendous difference in a child’s life.
Because of the pandemic, the Loudoun County Toys for Tots, coordinated by Loudoun County Marine Corps League Detachment 1205, had to come up with a plan for the 2020 season that would make it safe for all involved and still provide toys to children in need.
In a normal year, Toys for Tots toy collection boxes would be in place in lobbies of business throughout the county. All Loudoun County fire stations would have been main toy drop-off locations for the general public, and more than 300 volunteers would be in our warehouse sorting, counting, packing and distributing toys. None of this was possible this year.
Rather than collecting toys, thanks to the generous donations from the community and businesses, we were able to purchase the toys that were needed.
To fulfill our mission of providing toys to children, we partnered with five nonprofits: Community Empowerment of Northern Virginia, Help for Others, LINK, Mobile Hope, and The Salvation Army. We channeled 25-30 nonprofit organizations that we normally provide toys to individually, through the above nonprofits.
Each of the five organizations provided us with the total number of children registered with them to receive toys, which we then purchased and provided directly to the non-profit organizations for distribution to the families.
A special thank you goes out to Interstate Moving & Storage for providing a place to store our toys.
In addition, we are very grateful for the large donations provided by these local businesses: Century 21 Redwood Realty, Country Buick GMC, Gnosis Solutions Inc., Meadows Farms, MVM Inc., My Guys Moving & Storage, Navy Federal Credit Union, Patriot Group International, Red’s BBQ and Pizzeria, and Willowsford Cares.
We are already planning for our next season which begins Oct. 1. If you would like to participate as a toy collection location or volunteer during the 2021 Toys for Tots season, please visit www.loudoumarines.orgafter Oct. 1,` 2021.
Frank Holtz, Loudoun County Toys for Tots Coordinator