From the beginning of our nation’s history, Thanksgiving has been that annual tradition where we set aside time to reflect and give thanks for the past year. For many, this marks the beginning of the holiday season in which family and friends look forward to gathering and celebrating with one another. Unfortunately, for too many of our neighbors who are struggling to make ends meet, the holidays can also be a very difficult time.
With these families in mind, one of the best ways to give thanks for our many blessings is to come together as a community and help support one another. Whether through area food banks or other organizations, there are many ways you can help give back throughout this holiday season.
My office will once again be participating in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. For over 50 years, Toys for Tots’ mission has been to unite communities to bring a message of hope through the gift of toys to children in need. Toys for Tots began in Los Angeles when, after searching for an organization to donate toys to children for Christmas, Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks and his wife Diane realized no such organization existed. The Hendricks took matters into their own hands, and came together with other Marine Corps Reservists to collect and distribute 5,000 toys on Christmas Day 1947.
The idea for the organization caught on quickly, and was expanded to Reserve Centers nationwide by 1948. Today, Toys for Tots averages over eight million donated toys each year, for more than four million children. Even some local community groups without Reserve Centers have coordinated with the Marine Corps to conduct Toys for Tots programs.
All three of my district offices are serving as drop off locations for Toys for Tots this year. From now until December 15, anyone can drop off new and unwrapped toys between the hours of 8:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m.:
• Hilliard District Office: 3790 Municipal Way, Hilliard, OH, 43026
• Lancaster District Office: 123 South Broad Street, Suite 235, Lancaster, OH, 43130
• Wilmington District Office: 69 North South Street, Wilmington, OH, 45177
Whether through this program or other charitable endeavors, thousands of people in our community will give of their time and resources to serve others during this holiday season, and I want to extend my heartfelt gratitude for their generosity. As we celebrate Thanksgiving, I hope you will consider how you can give back and help those most in need.
For more information about Toys for Tots, or questions about any other issues before the federal government, please contact my Washington, D.C. office at (202) 225-2015, Hilliard office at (614) 771-4968, Lancaster office at (740) 654-2654, or Wilmington office at (937) 283-7049.
Steve Stivers is a member of Congress from Ohio’s 15th Congressional District.