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TOYS FOR TOTS


Our Toys for Tots program grew exponentially over our five years of direct planning, coordination, and distribution thanks to the leadership of John Van Houten. It required a huge effort from many, many volunteers (218 in that last year) to collect, process, and hand out toys to those families who are struggling. Our East Valley center alone gave out over 20,000 toys, serving 12,000 children during that final year of operation.

After that, the Marine Corps Reserve Unit in Phoenix opted to not participate directly in the program and instead teamed up with the local Salvation Army. The Salvation Army is now the central collection area and distribution center. Our East Valley Marines detachment collects donated toys from around the city and brings them to the Salvation Army. However some of those toys stay with the detachment. We go out each Christmas Eve with several truckloads of toys, bringing these gifts directly to local housing areas that might be in need of a Christmas boost.