Combat Center Toys for Tots campaign closes out with a bang in 2005

16 Feb 2006 | Lance Cpl. Regina N. Ortiz

The Toys for Tots Advisory Committee gathered at the Combat Center’s Reserve Support Unit Feb. 16 for a final meeting and award ceremony for services offered during the 2005 campaign.

The meeting began with awards presented to 11 committee members by Col. Anthony F. Weddington, center inspector, RSU.

The committee had a lot of work on their hands last year, handling donations and distribution from more than 6,000 square miles, two counties and more than 15 cities and towns, with a population of 500,000 people, according to the after action report discussed at the meeting.

The campaign started with more than 1,000 toys left over from the previous year. The number of toys collected in the local area exceeded 24,500; more than 5,500 toys were purchased from monetary donations and grants. Toys were also collected through other means, totaling more than 33,500 toys for distribution for fiscal year 2005.

More than 24,000 children received toys from the campaign, each receiving an average of 1.29 toys per child. There were more than 2,500 toys left over, mostly due to last-minute donations, said Maj. Mark D. Bodde, chairman of the Toys for Tots Advisory Committee, RSU.

Toys for Tots held more than 80 events to support their cause throughout the 2005 campaign using the signature barrels and boxes for their collections at each event and at specified locations during the holiday season.

The committee recognized their top five donors, which included Pulte Homes, Professional Golfer’s Association of America West Country Club, the Toys for Tots Softball Tournament held in Palm Springs, Calif., on Dec. 5, 2005, the Palm Springs Holiday Concert and the Marine Corps Communication-Electronics School Toys for Tots Run.

Toys for Tots collected more than $55,000 in monetary contributions and used more than 84 percent on toys, according to the after action report.

The campaigns major events were kicked off with the Combat Center’s Toys for Tots Advisory Committee Luncheon in October. Also in October, Twentynine Palms High School played Yucca Valley High School in a football game opening the campaign to the public.

In November, the 3rd Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament got golfers involved in the campaign and Marines made a special appearance in the Palm Springs Veterans Day Parade in support of Toys for Tots.

With more than 160 donation locations and media support from three television stations, three local radio stations and four newspaper publications, in addition to the events held, the campaign exceeded 2004’s number of 17,200 children receiving toys to 24,000 children in 2005.

The Combat Center’s Toys for Tots Advisory Committee is ready to start next season’s campaign with new ideas and aims to improve next year’s outcome.

For the nationwide efforts in the 2005 campaign, the year was the second most successful campaign since the beginning of Toys for Tots, with Marines giving 18.4 million toys to 7.4 million children across the country. More than 520 communities throughout the 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico participated in the 2005 campaign, according to the official Web site of the Toys for Tots.

Headquarters Marine Corps