The holiday season is a time for giving, and there is no better way to bring a smile to a child's face than donating to Toys for Tots. If you are in the greater Washington, D.C. area, and feeling generous in the season of giving, the district's Toys for Tots program has over 400 local donations sites, as well as a number of on-site volunteer opportunities. The program is run each year from mid-October through early December. Those wishing to donate toys should be aware that all toys must be new, unwrapped, and preferably around the $10 or above price range. Any individual, business, or organization can hold a toy collection drive, or donate individually. Below is all the information you need for participating in this incredible annual program.
History of Toys for Tots
Toys for Tots was founded in 1947 when U.S. Marine Corps Major Bill Hendricks and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children for Christmas. In 1948, the program expanded and became a nationwide campaign.
In 2016, Toys for Tots collected over 5.3 million toys valued at $65.5 million. That year also marked the eighteenth consecutive year that the Toys for Tots Foundation landed a spot on the Chronicle of Philanthropy's "Philanthropy 400" list. Out of 1.9 million IRS recognized 501(c)(3) not-for-profit charities in the United States, Toys for Tots ranks at number 97.
Toys for Tots Donation Locations
With so many donation sites in the district area including locations in Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, Toys for Tots makes it easy for local residents make a toy donation. Of course, monetary gifts are also welcome.
How to Request Toys
To request a toy, contact the local campaign coordinator by visiting the website. It's strongly recommended that you submit your request as soon as possible, as the request for toys is generally higher than the number of toys that are donated. Toys for Tots would love to provide toys to all those in need, however, they cannot guarantee that they will be able to fill every request received.
How to Become a Local Campaign Coordinator
Marine Forces Reserve directs the activities of the local Toys for Tots coordinators who work with a wide range of social welfare agencies, church groups, and other organizations to collect and distribute toys to needy children of the community in which the local campaign is held.
To be a successful Toys for Tots Coordinator, you should have excellent communication skills, familiarity with the local area, a strong work ethic, and great organizational skills. Attendance at the annual training is mandatory for all newly appointed local representatives and any coordinator who has not participated in an official training session in the last 5 years. This conference is essential to the education and training of a local coordinator and will prepare everyone for the challenges that lie ahead.
To learn more about the duties of a coordinator, and apply to become one, please visit the Coordinators Corner website.
How to Volunteer in Person
Each fall, volunteers are needed to assist with toy collection and toy sorting as well as help out at live local events including golf tournaments, foot races, and bicycle races. If you wish to volunteer for one of the public events, please call the Washingon, D.C. Toys for Toys event coordinator at 202-433-3152/0001.