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 75 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