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Toys for Tots launches 75th annual campaign

The local impact in the Bismarck-Mandan area last year resulted in more than 13,460 toys being distributed to more than 7,260 children. Southwest North Dakota residents interested in donating to the program can do so through 15 different donation methods online and in person.

Operation Santa Drop
U.S. Marines pose for a photo aboard a C-130 transport aircraft prior to “Operation Santa Drop” in Mississippi, Nov. 10, 2022. In celebration of Toys for Tots 75th anniversary, the Marines assisted honorary Marine Santa Clause conducting toy deliveries via parachute.
Maj. Jeremy Wheeler/Marine Forces Reserve
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DICKINSON — For over seven decades, the United States Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program has evolved and grown exponentially. Each year they have delivered hope and the magic of Christmas to over 281 million less fortunate children nationwide.

What began as the brainchild of United States Marine Corps Major Bill Hendricks, has since 1947 continued to make a difference in the lives of countless disadvantaged American families. When Hendricks’ wife, Diane, handcrafted a few dolls and asked Bill to deliver them to an agency that supports children in need, Hendricks struggled to find a suitable program. Thus, the The Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program began.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is an IRS recognized 501(c)(3), not-for-profit charity, that raises funds, purchases toys, provides promotional and support materials, manages all funds raised and donated, solicits corporate support, educates the public and handles day-to-day operations for a program that presently distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children annually.

Southwest North Dakota residents interested in donating to the program can do so through a variety of ways. The program currently takes donations online through financial donations; through the virtual toy box which allows the purchasing and placing of a hand-picked toy in the Marine Toys for Tots toy box; through a partnership with UPS Stores for donating physical toys.

Additionally, 12 other means of contributing to the program are available online at the program’s website at toysfortots.org/donate/Default.aspx .

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Area residents are encouraged to visit the program’s website to start their own Toys for Tots Fundraising Page and local chapter, if one is not available in the community. Currently, the closest active location to Dickinson is located in the Bismarck and Mandan area.

The local impact in 2021 in Bismarck-Mandan resulted in more than 13,460 toys being distributed and more than 7,260 children supported. Program coordinator for the Bismarck-Mandan Toys for Tots program, Michelle Tait, highlighted the importance of the program and the generosity of North Dakotans.

“Thank you to everyone who assisted us over the years. Year after year with your help we have been able to assist our local community and help literally thousands of people,” she said. “Our most recent campaign was no exception. I couldn't be more proud of the many volunteers who put in countless hours to make this possible.”

Tait noted that the program is in great need of volunteers for the upcoming Christmas season for positions and responsibilities ranging from picking up toys at drop sites, to sorting toys and even administrative tasks including paperwork, filing and event planning.

Those interested in supporting the Bismarck-Mandan chapter, or area families in need can have applications filled out for them or by them through the local Marine Toys for Tots Campaign by contacting Tait at 701-471-8986.

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James B. Miller, Jr. is the Editor of The Dickinson Press in Dickinson, North Dakota. He strives to bring community-driven, professional and hyper-local focused news coverage of southwest North Dakota.
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