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Toys for Tots needs your support

Looking for a special way to make your holidays brighter this year? If you are, here’s one that can help to make a happy holiday season for needy children right here in Seminole County. Support and contribute to Toys for Tots, a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. 

Local Toys for Tots supporters have set up a collection box in the front office of Seminole County Middle High School and they will also have a collection booth set up at this year’s Harvest Festival and Christmas Parade.

To contribute toys or for additional information contact local Toys for Tots organizer Candy Smith at 229-205-6618 or email her at

Did you know . . ?

Toys for Tots began as a Los Angeles charitable effort in 1947. Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, was inspired by his wife Diane when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but could not find any organization to do so. At her suggestion, he gathered a group of local Marine reservists, including Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton, who coordinated and collected some 5,000 toys for local children that year from collection bins placed outside Warner Bros. movie theaters. Jon B. Riffel also helped found the organization. Their efforts were successful. In 1948, a feasibility report for the Marines using it as a national public relations and recruitment tool was written by Maj. Donald G Clarke USMCR. Toys For Tots was launched as a national campaign. Hendricks used his position as director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio to enlist celebrity support, as well as have Walt Disney Studios design the red toy train logo. A theme song for the program was written in 1956 by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, and would be recorded by Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, among others.

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