by Rick Winterson
You have surely seen and heard of the “Toys for Tots” program, first founded by Major Bill Hendricks, U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, and his wife Diane. Actually, the idea occurred to Diane, after she had unsuccessfully tried to find a way to get Christmas toys to needy children.
Just as a reminder, here are a few remarkable facts and figures describing “Toys for Tots”. In this Year of Our Lord 2017, “Toys for Tots” has turned 70 – Diane and Bill Hendricks began it in 1947. If you would like to see a heart-warming sight, take the elevator to the Eighth Floor of South Boston’s Design & Innovation Building at 21 Drydock Avenue by the Flynn Terminal. You’ll see an entire floor of toys piled up and ready for Christmas – well over 150,000 of them, all to be delivered by December 25. What’s even more impressive, note that the whole floor is staffed by volunteers, who include Barbara Signor, 2018 Parade Chief Marshal of the St. Patrick’s/Evacuation Day Parade. And be sure to bring a toy yourself (unwrapped, non-violent).
On the particular morning of this article, the volunteers took a short break so they could receive greetings from Boston’s Mayor Martin J. Walsh. He toured the Eighth Floor at 21 Drydock, thanking the volunteers as he went along. A short program followed, which began by reviewing the long-standing connection between the City of Boston and the U.S. Marine Corps. The Navy Yard is an example of this connection; it was founded here in Revolutionary War times. South Boston native General Joseph Dunford is currently the Commandant of the Marine Corps and he chairs the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
The Mayor made some remarks about how strongly and completely he supports “Toys for Tots”, and accepted a framed award from the Corps. If you would like to help out “Toys for Tots” in 2017, look for the red, three-car “Toys for Tots” train symbol. Leave an unwrapped, non-violent toy at that drop-off point. Or being from South Boston, you can simply bring the toy(s) you’re contributing over to 21 Drydock Avenue, Eighth Floor. Use your car, or take the Silver Line (SL-2). From South Station, SL-2 goes right by “Toys for Tots” at 21 Drydock.