Toys for Tots national program turns 75 this year; Northeast Missouri group hopes to help 1,600 children

Toys for Tots

HANNIBAL, Mo. — Maj. Bill Hendricks with the U.S. Marine Corps was inspired by his wife Diane 75 years ago when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but could not find any organization to do so. At her suggestion, he gathered a group of local Marine reservists who coordinated and collected 5,000 toys for local children that year from collection bins placed outside Warner Bros. movie theaters.   

For the seventh year, The Marine Corps Toys for Tots will be assisting children in northeast Missouri who need Christmas gifts. Sponsored locally by Douglass Community Services, Marine Toys for Tots plans on assisting 1,600 children in Lewis, Marion, Ralls, Pike, Shelby and Monroe counties this year. 

Applications for assistance will be available starting Oct. 20, 2022.  Applications will be available at Douglass Community Services, schools and community social service agencies.  They also will be available on the Facebook page “Toys for Tots of Northeast Missouri.” 

“For 75 years, the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program has answered the call to bring the hope of Christmas to children in need,” Douglass’ chief operating officer and campaign coordinator Stacey Nicholas said in a press release.

People, community groups, churches or businesses can participate in the Toys for Tots mission. Contact Nicholas at 573-221-3892 for more information.

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