Tis the season of giving and notable charity at this time of year is Toys for Tots.
Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks of the United States Marine Corps. Hendricks and his wife, Diane, wanted to do something for the families that could not afford Christmas gifts. Diane had wanted to donate a handmade doll, but could not find an organization to donate to. Hendricks joined with Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton and the two coordinated and collected around 5,000 toys in two collection bins outside a Warner Brothers Theater.
By the next year, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign. As the years progressed, so did the popularity of the toy drive. Walt Disney designed the red train logo and a theme song was written for Toys for Tots. Nat King Cole would record a version of the theme song. The reservists in the Corps were responsible for the refurbishment of the donated toys. Eventually there were too many toys and something had to be done.
In 1991 the Secretary of Defense authorized the creation of a non-profit foundation and approved Toys for Tots as part of the official mission of the Marine Corps. The official mission statement "is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted", and the stated goal is to "deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens."
For those interested in donating to Toys for Tots, toys must be new in the packaging.
Several local businesses are collecting toys until December 14. Here is a list of those businesses:
Jay Public Schools offices
In 2018, more than 2,000 toys were distributed in the City of Jay alone, supporting more than 500 children. For more information on Toys for Tots, visit their website at toysfortots.org.
Mrs. Clause is Coming to Town!
Ruth Robinson of Jay is a school bus driver for Jay Public Schools and a minister at the Jay Community Chapel, but her favorite thing is that she is also Mrs. Clause of Delaware County.
"Yes, there is an 'e' at the end of my name because there is a clause in my contract with Santa; As long as I continue to get the help of the community to serve the community I can be the 'Lady Elf'," said Robinson.
Robinson has several appearances planned around the county in conjunction with Toys for Tots.
November 27: Shoe Sensation from 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.
November 30: Jay Public Library is hosting Mrs. Clause as books are given freely to children.
December 4: Radio Shack 11 a.m. - 1 p.m.
December 6: Mrs. Clause will be visiting the Jay Lower Elementary in the lunch room and Domino's Pizza 6-9 p.m.
December 9: Mrs. Clause will be greeting people at the Grove Community Center Give-a-Way from 5:30 - 8 p.m.
December 13: Mrs. Clause is thanking all of the Students at Afton N.E.O. with a Certificate of Appreciation; pictures will be taken. Mrs. Clause will then travel to Kansas N.E.O to thank the students there and award them a Certificate of Appreciation at 1 p.m.
December 21: Delaware County Mrs. Clause Annual Toy Party for all of those who have signed up will take place at 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Jay Community Center. Children are welcome to come and meet Mrs. Clause to adopt a toy, make Christmas Cards for their families and shop for their moms. Meanwhile, parents will be shopping for their children's new toys from The Marines Toys for Tots, in a separate area.
Toys for Tots donation locations:
Kansas, OK: N.E.O. Tech, Kansas Building Supply and Dollar General
Jay, OK: B&L Feed & Supply, Dollar General, Grand Savings Bank, Lindly's Hardware, each of Jay school’s front offices and the Administration Building will also have a collection box.
Grove, OK: Radio Shack, Auto Zone, VFW (accepting cash donations as well) Goodfellow's Pizza, Shoe Sensation, Domino's Pizza, Walgreen's, Grove Sports Center, Dollar General and Grove Library.