As the holidays are upon us and planning for Christmas arrives, it’s also time to think about  doing something special for children in need.  The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program  is underway giving local residents an opportunity to  purchase a toy for a boy and girl outside their family.  

Toys for Tots started more than 60 years ago when  Maj. Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and a group of Marine  reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed more  than 5,000 toys to needy children. Hendricks’ idea  caught on and was so successful that the Marine Corps  adopted Toys for Tots the following year and expanded  it into a nationwide program. In 1995, the Secretary of  Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official activity  of the U.S. Marine Corps and an official mission of the  Marine Corps Reserve.  

Today, Toys for Tots is the Marine Corps’ premier  community action program and one of the nation’s  flagship Christmas charitable causes. Toys for Tots is the only charitable endeavor within the Department of  

Defense which reaches outside the military establishment  to give something back to the communities. Toys  for Tots has enjoyed over a half century of success  because of the support of millions of caring Americans,  local communities, and corporate America plus the  dedication and hard work of thousands of U.S. Marines.  Toys for Tots is a program which brings all elements of  a community together in a common cause for three  months each year. The shiny new toy at Christmas lets  these youngsters know that someone cares.  

Area Toys for Tots coordinator Kelly Wilson is in  charge of finding enough money and toys to fulfill toy  requests for children in the 18 counties throughout Metro  Atlanta. Kelly can be reached at 678-887-5179. 

Toys for Tots collects only new toys. Organizers ask  that toys brought to drop-off points be unwrapped so  they can be sorted and given to the right child. Toys are  to be appropriate for children from birth to 12 years. 

For a complete list of drop-off points, visit