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The Story Behind Toys for Tots

Updated: Dec 5, 2021

I love Toys for Tots and why not? It's a fabulous program that collects new, unwrapped toys for needy children around the world so that every child gets a toy at Christmas.That's a pretty great goal. Presently, Marine Toys for Tots (as it's now officially called), provides an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children annually. Wow.


Toys for Tots began in 1947 as the brain child of Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks. when his wife Diane asked Bill to deliver some handcrafted dolls to an agency that supports children in need. Only problem, there wasn't really the right organization to which to give the toys. So Bill decided to create the Marine Toys for Tots program. At the time, Bill was Director of Public Relations at Warner Brothers Studios. He roped in many celebrities to support the newly created Marine Toys for Tots Program including Walt Disney himself. Disney actually designed the first Toys for Tots poster which included a miniature three-car train that eventually became the Toys for Tots logo. That train logo is still used today.


The program has been celebrated in Singapore for many, many years, as well. The American Association and The American Club have long worked with other American organizations to support the local US Marines. Scouts wrap donated moving boxes (this year Arpin International is to thank) and the Marines deliver the toys to needy children across the area.

Pre-Covid, The American Club hosted a big bash. Families would bring new, unwrapped toys then enjoy making crafts, decorating cookies, hearing a choir or two and meeting the man in the big red suit.

This year, things are a little different. Toys have been dropped off at one of six locations in Singapore (International Christian School, Marsh, Sembawang, Singapore American School, Stamford American International School, The American Club and the US Embassy). Instead of a party at The Club, we're hosting a virtual event which promises to be lots of fun. And Santa will even make an appearance from the North Pole where he is busily getting ready for Christmas Eve.

Yes, Covid has changed things, but the magic of Christmas giving is still alive and well.

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