Toys for Tots accepting donations

By Eric Brinkmann

Special to The PREVIEW

Toys for Tots is in full swing in Pagosa Springs, with drop-off boxes located around town until Dec. 18.

Drop-off boxes are located at Goodman’s Department Store, Ruby M. Sisson Memorial Library, Coates Collision Center and Exodus Shipping.

The Toys for Tots program is working with the local Salvation Army affiliate, Justice Ministries, to distribute the toys in the days following Dec. 18.

Since 1775, the Marine Corps has defended freedom and democracy — a duty they have fulfilled with honor, courage, and commitment. As they have fulfilled that duty, Marines have earned a well deserved reputation for toughness.

But there’s another side to the Marine Corps — the side that springs from a genuine concern for the communities in which they live and a deep compassion for the under-privileged children of America. That’s the side that exemplifies the spirit of the Marine Corps. That side is found in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

In 1947, a group of Marines recognized a need in this country and found a way to fill it — Toys for Tots. As history has proven time and time again, Marines do not do anything halfway. Over the years, Marines have distributed over 494 million toys and brought the joy of Christmas and a message of hope to more than 230 million children.

Today, Marine Corps reserve units collect and distribute an average of 18 million toys to an average of 7 million children each year at Christmas. Impressive as those numbers are, they do not tell the whole story. Every year, there is a gap between the number of children needing toys and the number of toys available.

We sometimes hear, especially when a potential donor is trying to choose between two or more worthy charities, one of which is Toys for Tots: “It’s just a toy. With all the problems facing the children in America today, what difference does a toy make?”

The Marine Corps discovered the answer over 60 years ago. The answer is hope. Think about it; how many times can a child miss out on the simple joy of a toy at Christmas before he or she begins to lose hope?

We know from the smiles on children’s faces and from the grateful appreciation of their parents, that the simple gift of a shiny, new toy — something that many take for granted — can make a tremendous difference in the life of a child.

Hope is the key, and hope is what the Marine Corps Reserve is giving to needy children of America through the Toys for Tots program.

More than 97 cents of every $1 donated is spent and distributed in Archuleta County.