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Toys for Tots delivers joy, smiles

PARSIPPANY — The United States Marine Corps has an unofficial ethos of work hard, play hard. When Maj. Bill Hendricks was unable to find a place where his wife could donate a Raggedy Ann doll at Christmas in 1947, he initiated work and play with the formation of a charitable effort in Los Angeles.

During that first year, a group of local Marines placed bins outside Warner Bros. movie theaters and collected nearly 5,000 toys. Their efforts were so successful that, in 1948, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign with a primary goal to deliver a message of hope to youth that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens.

Since that time, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program has grown to touch the lives of around seven million less fortunate children each year at Christmas. American Legion chapters are active across the nation in supporting the annual toy drive.

On Sunday, December 10, residents gathered at the American Legion Post 249, 91 North Beverwcyk Road to continue the tradition.

Santa and Mrs. Claus arrived to take pictures with all the children.  Families donated a toy for Toys for Tots and volunteers from American Legion cooked hot dogs, chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. If you didn’t come with a toy, then you had to donate $5.00 to the cause.

“It’s just fantastic to see groups like this step up in the community,” said Vice President of Parsippany-Troy Hills Township Council Robert Peluso. “I’m just proud to be a resident of Parsippany. My neighbors are my heroes. These groups are pulling together and doing the right thing for everyone.”

Although Toys for Tots is designed to be a program for local children in the United States, the program went international on three occasions. The first followed the catastrophic typhoon that devastated the city of Nagoya, Japan, in 1959. The other two occasions were to the Republic of Panama following the invasion in 1988 and to the Caribbean following Hurricane Hugo in 1989.

Parsippanong Post 249 American Legion was chartered on August 13, 1935, and has grown considerably to include the more than 160 members today. They serve the Township of Parsippany Troy-Hills and the surrounding area in Morris County. The post is located in the Lake Hiawatha section of town.

Post 249 is both a veterans’ organization and an involved community member. We provide a variety of services, programs and awards. Our affiliated American Legion Auxiliary Unit 249 and our Sons of the American Legion Squadron 249 provide additional programs.

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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