FORT MYER, VIRGINIA – DECEMBER 10: Children of military families carry toys during a sorting event for the annual Marine Toys for Tots Drive at the Joint Base Myer–Henderson Hall on December 10, 2021 in Fort Myer, Virginia. (Photo by Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)
UPDATED 10:32 AM PT – Wednesday, December 22, 2021
Secretary of State Antony Blinken thanked the “Toys for Tots” foundation for their continued work through the holiday season, noting the State Department’s contributions to their efforts. Blinken gave the remarks at the Annual Toys for Tots Ceremonial Presentation on Tuesday, highlighting the organization’s rich history of giving since its founding more than 70 years ago.
“Millions of children have received toys through Toys for Tots, going back to 1947. It is a terrific program and I have to say we are very proud here at the State Department to be able to support it,” stated Blinken.
Toys for Tots, founded by a Marine in 1947 and officially recognized under the Marine Corps in 1991, gives an average of 18 million toys to more than 7 million children in need each holiday season. Local toy campaigns are organized by a Marine in each area and begin in mid-October, continuing on through the first three weeks of December.
“You want to make sure that no child feels left behind, left out or forgotten during the holidays,” he said. “And that parents or grandparents who need it, can get a little help.”
Organizers usually request new and unwrapped toys, which are then organized by volunteers into age and gender groupings, and then subsequently distributed to at-need youth in communities nationwide. Ninety-seven percent of monetary donations go straight to gifts for the children, while the additional three percent is used for overhead and operating costs.
“I think the program says a lot about the character of the Marines. They’re some of the toughest people in the world, they also have huge, huge hearts,” Blinken continued.
Officials have touted the organization’s success while, Blinken noted the State Department annually donates to the program.
“Every year during the holidays, the State Department employees donate gifts to kids across the District of Columbia, Maryland, Virginia, through the U.S. Marine Corps National Toys for Tots Program.”
Toys for Tots has donated more than 600 million toys to kids in need, giving nearly 300 million children a brighter Christmas.