Take part in a unique story this holiday season…
Few true stories begin with a Marine and toy doll. These two elements sit juxtaposed in the collective psyche—the symbolic innocence of a child’s toy and the hardened veneer of a soldier. But in 1947, the unlikely meeting of these forces catalyzed the launch of an organization committed to the joy of boys and girls around the country during the Christmas season.
It all happened a couple years after the end of WWII. At the time, a substantial portion of the nation’s children were fatherless victims of the recent war. And in Los Angeles, CA. a woman named Diane Hendricks hand-crafted a Raggedy Ann Doll that would help bring comfort to thousands of those struggling children, and millions more in the years to come. She passed the doll along to her husband—Major Bill Hendricks of the Marine Corps Reserves—and requested that he donate it to a charity for needy children for Christmas. But to the couple’s surprise, no such option existed, and so with rolled sleeves they created Toys for Tots to fill the need.
That first year, the couple collected 5,000 toys. The second year, the program was adopted by the Marine Corps, became nationwide and adopted the now-famous red Toys for Tots train logo drawn by Walt Disney. Bringing joy to children was in the blood of Major Hendricks, he was a film producer at Warner Brothers Studios and filled the last executive producer role of the Looney Tunes cartoons, guiding the antics of such infamous characters as Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck.
Since its inception, Toys for Tots has enjoyed a surging popularity. Personalities like John Glenn, Frank Sinatra, Clint Eastwood and Nancy Reagan (along with numerous others) have put their popular weight behind this cause. Last year, the organization raised $284 million in support of their mission.
You can take part in this successful holiday story. If you would like to donate a toy, bring your new unwrapped toy to Cripple Creek City Hall to help bolster the cause, or bring your kids along to see Santa, get a gift and say thanks to the United States Marine Corps all at the same time.
It all happens on Dec. 17 at the Cripple Creek-Victor High School Cafetorium from 5-8 pm.
Submitted by: Dan Smith of Cripple Creek Parks & Recreation