For the past few days, I have been working with Santa J.R. Arthur on a special project that is near and dear to my heart, Toys for Tots!
Everyone has heard the term, “The Marines are looking for a few Good Men!” Well now the Marines are looking for a few good Santas! In fact a few hundred good Santas!
Since 1947 in Hollywood, California and then nationwide in 1948, the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program (T4T) has help millions of families bring joy to their children on Christmas morning through the donation of un-wrapped toys and books. Through the donations from millions of Americans, via T4T, the Marines have helped distribute these gifts to every corner of America and beyond. And each Christmas season I appear in the Hollywood Christmas Parade and the official Charity of the Parade is Toys for Tots. So you can see why I want to help the Marines and in the long term, hundreds and thousands of children.
And now the Marines Need You!
There are 714 USMCR T4T Campaigns across the United States, Plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and Guam. And each will be kicking off their campaigns in mid October and we would like to know if you could volunteer for your local area campaign. This project is for all Santas, both real bearded and designer bearded. (It’s not the beard, it’s what you have in your heart!)
This is a volunteer position for the initial campaign kick-off in late October or Early November. It is volunteering for the actual campaign committee or unit. Yes there are lots of Toys for Tots collection events promoted by restaurants, stores and auto dealerships. But this request is just for the key kick-off events hosted by the local campaign committees.
There are over 275 USMCR units across the U.S. In addition Marine Corps League Detachments and selected local community organizations (generally veteran Marines), located in communities without a Marine Reserve Center, conduct toy collection and distribution campaigns in their communities as part of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
These are the campaigns you will be helping.
On September 14, 15 & 16, in Quanitco, VA, the over 700+ coordinators will attend the 13th Annual Coordinator Conference at the National Executive Center in Virginia, for training and to get their marching orders for this years campaign.
New this year at the conference will be a special booth with a team of Santas and Mrs. Claus: Dale Parris, Master Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (ret) & Trish Parris, Gunnery Sergeant, USMC (ret) (also Official Santa and Mrs. Claus from the Marine Corps Museum), a few other Santa Volunteers and myself.
We will be helping the Marines find local Santas in their communities to help with their campaign kick-offs.
Can you be one of the Santas we refer to the Marines?
If you are interested, we need the following:
- Your Name
- Your Address
- A telephone number where the Marines can contact you
- An email address where they can contact you
- A good Head shot
This information is being put into a special data base that will be accessible only by the Marines and the committee working on this project. We are actually creating a special map of the U.S. with all available Santas posted on the map. The local Marine Corps Reserve Unit will have access to the map and can select a Santa and call him direct.
Remember, this is for the official USMCR Toys4Tots Kick-Off events. You may of course volunteer for more of their events, but many other collection events are more commercial and we do not expect Santas to volunteer for everything.
Just give us your time for one kick-off event.
God Bless you and may the spirit of Christmas be with you every day.
Santa Tim Connaghan, Staff Sergeant, USArmy (Vietnam Veteran)
Santa J.R. Arthur, LtCmdr, US Navy (ret)
P.S. Please feel free to foward this to anyone you know. We want Santas for every Toys for Tots campaign kick-off.