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Toys for Tots

Local Boise tradition continues charitable work this holiday season

story by Pamela Kleibrink Thompson

photography by Lance Thompson

RealEstatesmallToys for Tots was founded by Major Bill Hendricks, United States Marine Corps Reserves in 1947.  The idea originated with his wife, Diane Hendricks, who handcrafted a doll and asked her husband to deliver it to an organization so it could be given to a needy child at Christmas.  When the couple discovered no such organization existed, Diane suggested that her husband start one.  That first year, 5,000 toys were collected and distributed in Los Angeles.  The following year, Toys for Tots expanded into a nationwide community action project when the United States Marine Corps adopted the program. Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots train logo and created the first national Toys for Tots poster.  Sixty five years after its founding, in 2012, Toys for Tots distributed nearly 16.8 million new toys to more than 7 million children across the United States.

Toys for Tots has grown with the help of the Marines and community volunteers.  Nicole Zuber, Owner, Zuber Group Real Estate at KW Boise & New Construction Sales Partner at Boise Hunter Homes, is one community volunteer who is dedicated to Toys for Tots. Boise Hunter Homes asked Nicole about how they might help at the holidays.  “Our family has contributed every year for the last 14 years, because Craig, my husband, served our country in the United States Marine Corps.   Having the opportunity to help and serve other families that are struggling during the holiday season is a blessing. Personally, I come from a family that had very little, and I remember from a very young age, we had people in our lives who helped us and receiving things from programs like Toys for Tots made a huge difference in my childhood. I truly believe it is our duty to pay it forward.”

Boise Hunter Homes is partnering with The United States Marine Corps and Toys for Tots, and will have a drop off location at their Foxtail model home located at 3322 S Fox Leash Avenue, Eagle, Idaho, 83616, from December 2-19. A uniformed USMCR officer will be posted at the model home from 11-4 on December 6 and December 12. Boise Hunter Homes will match any toy donations made on December 6 and 12. For more info about Foxtail or times to donate at the Foxtail model home call Nicole Zuber at (208) 830-4005.

The Toys for Tots Warehouse can use help from November 13 to December 19 (8 am to 5 pm). If you can help, contact  Sgt. Rowland at matthew.s.rowland@usmc.mil or (208) 422-6257.

The Toys for Tots website reminds that  realistic looking weapons and gifts with food will not be distributed. Toys for children ages 0-3 and 8-12 are especially needed. If you want to donate a toy for a pre-teen or teen, Toys for Tots has a few ideas:  “In the past, items purchased for teens and pre-teens  have included, but are not limited to:  sporting  equipment/bags/balls; books, backpacks, cosmetics, purses, watch/wallet gift sets, bath gift sets, board games, radio control cars/trucks, hand-held electronics, skateboards/helmets, curling irons, hair straighteners, and hair dryers.”

Marine reservists and veterans continue the tradition of gathering toys for needy children. To be part of the effort this magical time of year, bring a new unwrapped toy to a Toys for Tots collection box. Your holidays and those of a child in need will shine brighter with your simple act of giving.