The Marine Corps’ Reserve’s annual Toys-for-Tots campaign has grown from a local community effort which began in 1947 to a national effort covering over 600 local communities serving nearly 8 million needy children. The Dunes Leathernecks Detachment of the Marine Corps League conducted the 2009 Toys-for-Tots campaign for Porter County, Indiana. While applications for assistance increased nearly 25% over the previous year, toy donations were down nearly the same amount. Even though toy donations have been down, generosity has been strong. However, the organization received enough in cash donations from local donors to make up the difference, making the 2009 campaign a success.
There are a number of reasons people ask for assistance, ranging from economic to medical. It takes a great deal for people to ask for help, and when they do, it takes even more to receive that help. Of course, distribution day at the Indiana National Guard Armory on Saturday, December 19 was not the only toy delivery opportunity. Bags of toys were set aside and delivered to local trustees whose community members could not make it to the distribution. In addition, toys were set aside for children in local hospitals who could not make it home for Christmas.
In order to make this happen, the men and women behind the scenes accepting and processing the applications, the organizations accepting drop-off boxes, people picking up the donations, and the men and women organizing and sorting the toys and filling orders continue, year after year, to make this event happen so families in need can have a merry Christmas. Groups that have continued to offer assistance included The Valparaiso High School Cheerleading Squad, The Vietnam Veterans of America: Chapter 905, The Portage, Indiana High School Marine Corps Junior ROTC, and The Indiana Army National Guard.
The Dunes Leathernecks have sponsored this event since 2000, and could not make it a success without the tireless efforts of everyone behind the scenes giving their time and effort year after year. We thank you.