TOYS FOR TOTS ALAMOGORDO, HISTORY

Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR and a group of Marines Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came from Bill's wife Diane. Diane handcrafted a Raggedy Ann doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.
Such is the same type of story for our local program. Wally Anderson was a rookie Police Officer with the Alamogordo Department of Public Safety in 1979. Wally quickly learned that many of the homes in Alamogordo had children that would be left without a gift for Christmas. Hearing about the national Toys for Tots program helping provide a new toy, Wally thought if such a effort was possible for Alamogordo.
Wally then began asking his fellow Officers for their help in collecting and delivering those toys to the home around the Alamogordo area for the needy children. Many of the local businesses and civic clubs joined in and with everyone's help the toys were loaded into cars, trucks, vans, etc. and all of Santa's helpers were sent out on Christmas Eve delivering the donated toys. Santa's Helpers quickly learned children were going from sadness to happiness' knowing that they were about to receive a new toy.
We are now collecting for our 28th year of providing toys to our less fortunate youth.

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