The Marine Toys for Tots Program knows the importance of providing children in need with tools that will ensure they are prepared for the upcoming school year – and to give them hope for a brighter tomorrow. Over the summer, the Program provided toys, books, games, school supplies, and backpacks to local nonprofits across the Nation to distribute to economically disadvantaged children in local communities.
The Mt Laurel, NJ Toys for Tots Chapter held two events over the summer— “Imprint a Foster Child’s Life” event and their “Back-to-School Initiative”! Both events provided hope and joy to children in need and gave them a reason to be more optimistic about their futures.
The “Imprint a Foster Child’s Life” event supported 200 local foster children. Each child was escorted around the event by a volunteer where they selected an age-appropriate toy and a gift bag to take home along with their backpack full of gifts. Throughout the birthday celebration event, children enjoyed food, taking pictures in a photo booth, and watching a volunteer make balloon animals. To make the day even more special, every hour a cake was rolled into the event area and all those in attendance would sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to the children! Many special guests attended the event including Marines and Senator Troy Singleton and several other state and local officials.
One representative said, “I think this will mean the world to our families. A child entering care is one of the most challenging times of their life, they’re being removed from everything that they know, being placed in a completely unknown situation and so I think that an event like this can bring some happiness and joy during a very stressful time.”
During Mt Laurel Toys for Tots’ “Back-to-School” initiative, 340 local children received backpacks filled with school supplies and books that were provided by Toys for Tots! The children in attendance traveled through the array of tables to make their choices, and they were also provided the opportunity to get haircuts, enjoy snacks and drinks, and even select some clothing and shoes. Representatives from Virtua Pediatric Mobile Van were available to provide free dental, ear, and eye screenings as well.
Members from the Foundation staff, Marines from MAG 49 Fort Dix, Burlington Couty Public Heald, Kids Kuts Voorhees, and NFL Alumni, Bart Oates and Dominique Curry, contributed to the success of the event! Our very own Gunny Bear was there to lend a helping “paw”, too!
Through our year-round initiatives, we are able provide disadvantaged children with resources that help them during very challenging and uncertain times and prepare them with the tools necessary to break the cycle of poverty as they head back to school.
Toys for Tots is turning the page on poverty by being a year-round force for good.