weather icon Mostly Cloudy

Never too early for Toys For Tots

It was only September when all of a sudden local large retailers, as well as some major thrift stores, began placing Christmas merchandise out for customers to purchase. It wasn’t even Halloween, but there was a Santa Claus photo announcing Dec. 25. Thanksgiving? Veterans Day? No thanks, not yet. Just line up and buy Christmas decorations in September.

But at least one topic can be discussed at an early date — the annual nationwide Toys For Tots drive. The project had a very early and poignant beginning. In 1947, Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Bill Hendricks, at the urging of his wife, started a toy drive at his unit. It was very successful. Word got out, and Marine headquarters directed all Reserve sites to implement similar campaigns.

One small heart-tugging historical segment of the campaign is touted today by the Tots organization, and it is very touching. According to Toys For Tots headquarters in Virginia, years ago a local Santa Claus personality and U.S. Marine Corps member received a letter that read: “Dear Santa, Can we just get something for Christmas? Last year we didn’t get anything and if not for me then just bring something for my little brother and sister. They have been really good. Merry Christmas!” It showed up just prior to Christmas, and was not signed.

Santa happened to be the Tots coordinator, Kevin Mallon, and the mailman said he knew the house where he had picked up the letter, which had no postage stamp attached. On that Christmas Eve the mailman delivered a bag of toys that Mallon had put together. It was left on the letter writer’s doorstep with a note that read, “Love, Santa.”

Over the years the Toys For Tots project has grown. Since 1947, 627 million toys have been distributed, and 281 million children have been supported with toy distribution. Although many Nevada retailers have begun celebrating Christmas earlier and earlier, I have yet to see any Tots collection boxes in Boulder City where brand-new, unwrapped toys, can be deposited.

But not to worry because the organization has developed a virtual option. The Virtual Toy Box is presented by Tremor — a partner of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. The foundation has approved use of the Marine Toys for Tots logo and marketing assets for Tremor. The company is providing the site to allow supporters of Tots to purchase toys that will be donated to campaigns across the country for children who need them most. Once on the Toys For Tots site, users can choose a toy from images that are shown, then pay for it and “drop” it into a Tots virtual box.

There are other ways the Marines help underserved children at Christmas. Financial donations can be made online, and individuals can start their own Tots fundraising page to collect donations. While I am not personally enamored of cryptocurrency, Tots has a page where individuals can donate Bitcoin, Ethereum and other forms of this new type of money. Tots also works with PayPal, accepts stocks and bonds and donations of automobiles, and supports an Indigenous peoples program that provides toys and books to participating reservations.

And lest we forget, there is always the old school postal service. One can still send checks through the mail, to Marine Toys For Tots Foundation, National Gift Processing Center, P.O. Box 4002036, Des Moines, Iowa 50340-2036.

Chuck N. Baker is an award-winning journalist and a Vietnam War Purple Heart veteran. He can be heard at 8:30 a.m. each Sunday on KKVV-AM hosting “That’s America to Me” and occasionally on KUNV-FM hosting “America’s Veterans, Today and Tomorrow.”

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
City breaks ground on replacing historic lawn

Boulder City broke ground on replacing the lawn in front of the Lower Colorado Basin Bureau of Reclamation’s Regional Administration building above Wilbur Square Park on Friday.

Citizens’ voices carry powerful messages

Having just come off an important election season and heading into the beautiful spring event season, I am struck by how important the involvement of our residents is to the ultimate success of our community.

Boulder City Nuggets: Huxford at home in BC

When Dr. Bleu Huxford finished dental school and training and was looking for a place to begin a practice, he felt himself being called home to Boulder City.

Improper recycling waste of time, hazardous

We all know the importance of recycling: lessen the load in landfills, ease the need for raw materials from the Earth, reduce pollution, create jobs, etc. The list of environmental, societal and economic benefits of recycling is long, but only if you’re doing it right. Evidently, Boulder City residents could be doing a better job.

Editor merits thanks for efforts on behalf of city

Journalists have a very specific way to let their editors know an article is complete: They type -30- at the end, to signify that the article is complete. After more than a decade, Hali Bernstein Saylor is putting a – 30- at the end of informing, entertaining and sharing the best (and sometimes the worst) of our community in the Boulder City Review.

Tale of Pahranagat Valley traveling stones moved many

A legend of the Old West and one from Nevada’s yesteryear that was around for a long time is the story about some stones, small rocks really, in parts of the Pahranagat Valley that were said to possess some very unique and unusual properties.

Quilts, cats define Carolyn Buhlmann

It’s been a bit chilly in Southern Nevada recently. But for many lucky military veterans, chances are they are sleeping a lot warmer these days. That’s because they’re keeping the cold away while slumbering under quilts produced and presented by Boulder City resident Carolyn Buhlmann.

Wallpaper on trend in big, bold way

Gone are the days of our ancestors’ tacky and outdated wallpaper. Indeed, wallpaper has come in and out of fashion for decades, with its most recent “out” in the ’80s and ’90s when painted, faux-finished and textured walls were most popular. Since that time, wallpaper has evolved into a high-fashion, high-tech and even seismic wallcovering.