My friend Jim and I have been lifelong friends. We’ve held a toys for tots party every year on our birthdays (December 18th – Jim turns 50 this year haha!) and we are in the final stretch of preparing for this year’s holiday gathering. Back in 1990 when Jim and I were in our early 20’s, we wanted to throw ourselves a birthday party and have people bring them gifts. When we took a moment and thought of others around the holidays, and we asked that our friends and families bring a toy for an underprivileged child. Little did we know we created a movement that has grown exponentially.
Each year we partner with the U.S. Marine Corps Toys For Tots Program and hold a holiday toy party. Over the past 24 years we have collected well over 35,000 toys. Many different organizations and companies approach us to partner with them in collecting unwrapped toys. This year the local high school, Lyman Hall High School has decided to join us in our efforts to collect new, unwrapped toys. Students at the school will help collect the toys and work the event at night to get community service hours for school credit. There are so many other local and national companies in our area that collect as well. Much more information can be found on our Facebook Page (Brian has done a fantastic job of maintaining this for us).
This year looks like it will be the biggest year yet. Many people involved have helped Jim and me reach our goal each year. Our families help distribute boxes and flyers throughout town. They also get their companies involved to collect toys and help to promote the event via social media such as Facebook and Instagram, local cable access, local newspapers and on websites such as Lillies and Loafers.
Our event is local, benefitting New Haven County in Connecticut, and some of you may not be able to attend this event. However, there are other events around the country that hold Toys for Tots collection parties. Please refer to their website for more information about your local community. If you are able to attend an event such as this, you will understand the true meaning of the Christmas holiday. It really is about thinking of others and making sure that you do all your can for your community and the people who live in it.