JOINT BASE CHARLESTON, S.C. —
Since 1947, The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve has spearheaded the Toys for Tots organization, providing toys to children who otherwise may not have the opportunity to open a gift on Christmas. The nationally recognized organization makes its positive impact locally. For the Lowcountry families and children who receive the gifts, it could be the Christmas miracle they were looking for.
This year, Team Charleston’s USMCR component is expected to collect and distribute around 25,000 of those Christmas miracles.
“The Charleston chapter of the program really took off around 2005,” said retired USMCR Gunnery Sgt. Michael Sroka, local Toys for Tots volunteer. “Since then, the impact of the program has gained so much momentum in the community.”
All of the toys are donated by individuals and businesses within the Lowcountry and given to those in the community who may have, for one reason or another, fallen on hard times during the holiday season. With help of charitable citizens, the goal of the program is to – through the gift of a new toy – help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope to America's less fortunate children.
“When you get to actually take one of these toys and place it in a kid’s hand and visibly see the joy of Christmas take over, it is amazing,” said Staff Sgt. Terry Allen Davis Jr., 451st Combat Logistics Battalion training chief. “We see people from all walks of life with different circumstances, who, for one reason or another, were not able to get gifts that year. It is great seeing your donation stay local and see its impact.”
The Toys for Tots program can also benefit the Marines. It allows them to get involved in the community, possibly after a long deployment, and readjust to stateside life.
“The whole staff is involved, and the Marines give a lot of personal time every year to make this happen to collect all of these toys and then distribute them,” said Davis. “No child should go without a present during the holidays, period.”
For volunteer or registration information in your local community, visit the official website at Toysfortots.org.