Marine Toys for Tots, which is traditionally known as a Christmastime charity, has evolved into a year-round force for good. The Program takes great pride in spreading hope throughout our Nation and being a force for good in order to promote a brighter tomorrow, especially during uncertain times.
In East Palestine, Ohio, children and families have recently faced devastating hardships due to the train derailment that left the river and air contaminated with toxic chemicals. East Palestine Social Concern, a local organization that assists families with rent and utilities, provided support to the impacted families, while Toys for Tots delivered emotional relief through the gift of toys and books to over 400 children in the local area.
“This is so exciting because the kids really have been overlooked through this whole process. They haven’t had a voice, their fears and anxiety a lot of times are portrayed through what their parents are feeling, and they’re not really getting heard,” said the daughter of volunteer, Sandy, who is a team member for Social Concern.
She continued, “and so, it was awesome that [Toys for Tots was] willing to give these [toys] away now and not make ‘em wait for Christmas. This is just fantastic. I love seeing the kids [and families] excited.”
The local community wanted to remind their children that they are not forgotten while their families navigate the challenges brought by the train derailment. They saw the immense need to lift the spirits of the children in the community and be a force for good. Local Toys for Tots representatives said, “We love to see [the children] smile.”
Last year the campaign helped 7,536 children in need, and they are on track to impact the lives of over 8,000 in 2023 through year-round initiatives.
The distributions beyond the holiday season reassure families, who are facing exceptional circumstances throughout the year, that Toys for Tots stands ready to provide emotional relief and reassurance in times of tremendous loss to children across the Nation—and make their days ahead a little brighter.
“We unloaded the truck, unloaded the pallets and we thank [the Foundation] because if it wasn’t for [them] we wouldn’t be able to do this. Seeing everyone’s faces today makes all that hard work worth it. When we were coming to town, you could see some of the signs that they had up, I was just like, man this is something amazing that we’re doing,” Assistant Coordinator, Megan Jones, commented.
Megan’s four children also volunteered with the toy distribution. Her son Jaden said, “we’ve seen the struggle that they [were] having and we just wanted to come in and help out.”
Looking ahead into 2023, Marine Toys for Tots will continue to provide significant comfort and relief to families who face hardships throughout the year—because needs aren’t seasonal, and neither is Toys for Tots.