Every child should wake on Christmas morning and be excited about a gift! Some children in our community don’t always have that opportunity.
In 1947 Major Dale Hendricks brought a homemade doll his wife had stitched together to a needy child. That single, generous act started Toys For Tots, which is what Major Hendricks and his Marine buddies named their foundation.
The Toys For Tots Foundations is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity and serves as the fund raising, funding and support organization for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys For Tots Program.
Their primary mission is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community in which the campaign is conducted. The communities are now nationwide, rippling out from its 1947 California roots.
Today, the organization hands out some 15-million toys in the continental U.S. and Toy For Tots is here, in our community.
Retired Gunnery Sergeant Greg Terry served with the Marine Corps for 22 years. A native and resident of Golden Meadow, Terry decided to put his retirement to good use towards a cause.
“Four years ago I picked up the Toys for Tots program for Lafourche,” he says. “We lacked adequate coverage here in our area. We were always clumped in with the Houma drive. From the north end to the south end, we have all of Lafourche Parish covered,” he added.
Over the last four years Gunnery Sergeant Terry has made a difference with the annual toy drive. Last year the Lafourche Parish Toys For Tots program handed out 11,000 toys to children in need. It’s a far cry from the humble beginning four years ago.
“My daughter and I would sit on our front porch and wrap gifts that first year,” recalls Sgt. Terry. “The second year it got bigger, the third year … bigger and this year even bigger.”
Sgt. Terry attacked the problem as any well-trained Marine would. He saw a need, set a goal and will not stop until he achieves his goal.
“As long as a child can wake up and get a present on Christmas morning … that’s our goal,” he says. “Every year I see a need to push and push a little harder. I take this on as a deep, heavy burden and I take it personally,” he added.
Our parish is long, and our needs can vary, that’s why Sgt. Terry has divided the parish into three sections. The Lafourche Parish Sheriff’s Office will be assisting in the Thibodaux area with collections and hand outs, 4U a community service non-profit organization based in Lockport, will handle the central part of the parish and Gunnery Sergeant Terry will take care of the southern part.
There are numerous drop-off points located throughout the parish. There are 13 just in the South Lafourche area alone.
Aside from the designated drop sites, Toy For Tots conducts several toy drives throughout the community to help increase the number of new, unwrapped toys the group receives. There will be a Toys For Tots toy drive on December 6th in Lockport at 222 Canal Street from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. This event will be a toy drop off and pick up point serving those residents that live north of the Intracoastal to the end of Raceland.
There is a second toy drive scheduled for December 13th in Galliano at the Walmart parking lot on Hwy. 3235.
This one is only a drop-off event. Toys collected at this event will go to needy children from south of the Intracoastal to Leeville.
Both events feature a visit from Santa as well as music, snacks and drinks.
To learn more about Tots For Toys, for a complete list of drop off sites, ways you can help or to make a monetary donation, visit toysfortots.org or call Gunnery Sgt. Greg Terry at (985) 772- 4064.
Posted on Tue, November 11, 2014
by Marc Kimball, Contributing Writer