Marines Help Kick Off The Toy-Donation Season

Joseph Meyers remembers coming home from active duty in 2007 and needing help. "I was going through some financial issues. They had a (toy drive) program at Camp Pendleton, and they helped my kids a lot," Meyers said. That Christmas was happy for his family, which now has five children, ages 10 years to 18 months. Because of that experience, Meyers was one of the Marines stationed in Lathrop who volunteered for Sunday's 17th annual Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Car Show. The event at Stockton's Chase Chevrolet featured a few dozen gleaming, refurbished cars, including a 1958 red Chevrolet Corvette, a yellow 1937 Ford Roadster, a 1931 Studebaker Roadster complete with running board, a plum-colored 1951 Chevy pickup and a cherry red 1964 Chevelle. There also were several barrels to collect unused toys. The September car show serves as the kickoff for the local toy drive that is part of the U.S. Marine Corps' national campaign. The program was adopted by the Marines in 1948, a year after a Los Angeles Marine reservist, Bill Hendricks began a toy drive when he realized no agency existed to collect toys for needy children. Since then, the Marines have collected and donated toys to millions of children. All toys and money collected for toys stay in the local community. Last year's Marine Corps Toys for Tots drive provided gifts for 18,000 children in San Joaquin County. This year's goal is 20,000.

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