Berkeley officials host Toys for Tots program

The City of Berkeley Police and Fire Departments have partnered with the U.S. Marine Corps for the 2012 Toys for Tots program, an annual tradition for many local residents. Every year, toys are provided to kids who might otherwise not receive presents during the holiday season, and people who live in the city or are simply checking out some of the homes for sale in Berkeley can make a significant difference through this program.

How does the Toys for Tots program work?
The Toys for Tots program is a community support initiative that shows participants the value of being responsible, productive residents. This year's event kicked off on November 7, 2012, and participants can show their support in a number of ways.

People can donate gifts or make online contributions to the program. Several local toy drives are also being held over the next few weeks, including the Arms Around Alameda event at the Rhythmix Cultural Works in Alameda, roughly 10 miles south of Berkeley, on December 6. Additionally, the San Leandro Downtown Association (SLDA) has a toy drive scheduled for December 7 at its headquarters approximately 15 miles south of Berkeley. SLDA members noted that they expect 3,000 attendees for the event.

Berkeley residents can drop off new, unwrapped toys at any of the city's fire stations and the Ronald Tsukamoto Public Safety Building. Members of the city's police department said they hope to give 3,000 new toys to local children during this year's event.

The impact of the Toys for Tots Foundation
In 1947, Major Bill Hendricks of the U.S. Marine Corps founded the Toys for Tots Foundation in Los Angeles. Hendricks collected the first gift, a handmade doll, and received 5,000 toys total during the inaugural campaign. 

Since that time, toy drives have been used to support local families across the country. Last year, the Toys for Tots program generated its greatest revenue to date - $252 million - and distributed nearly 16 million toys to more than 7 million kids nationally.

Even a single donation can substantially impact local children, and the Toys for Tots program offers ample opportunities for residents who want to give back to the community. Toys will be given out to families in the area on December 22, so plenty of time remains for Berkeley citizens to show their support for this annual holiday program.