This week and next we all have a golden opportunity to participate in an activity that has been in operation for 75 years. The Toys for Tots program started in 1947 when a small group of Marine Corps reservists decided to help out Santa Claus. Since then, that program has helped nearly 210 million needy children.
Those reservists had helped save the world from the Japanese Empire, the Third Reich and had battled the North Koreans back behind the 38th Parallel. They had other things to do but they saw a duty and, like a good Marine (that is redundant to many), they did it.
So more than 450 million gifts later those Marines are still at their task of helping to bring a smile to a face on a child who might be disappointed without their efforts -- which is where we come into the picture. Those Marines need our help and in a small way we can show our support, as well as our thanks, for our freedom by dropping off one or more unwrapped new toys in any one of the Toys for Tots boxes located all over our community. The Marines will also accept a donation and will do the shopping for you so it couldn't be any easier.
The past 75 years makes this a holiday tradition worthy of our support. Besides, it will help you feel better during the holiday season as you will be bringing joy into a child's life.
Your gift to Toys for Tots may seem simple, but it may remind a child that there is love in the world.
Isn't that the message of the season -- Goodwill towards mankind.
Help the Marines help Santa.
Another great tradition in our neck of the woods is attending the many annual church boutiques. At these boutiques you can get many handmade items that will delight someone in your family or circle of friends. One such sale takes place this Saturday at Evergreen Conference Center of Oakhurst with the ladies from Christ Church Anglican hosting what they call "Martha's Market."
For those not familiar with Martha, allow me to share that Mary and Martha were sisters. While Mary was interested in sitting at the feet of Jesus to hear his preaching, it was Martha who was working like crazy to make the meals and do the work of being the hostess -- both roles important and yet different. So the ladies want to help make your role a little easier and they have been working all year creating handmade objects for you to purchase.
These two events have a great deal in common. The Martha's Market proceeds go to local charitable work all over the community. One of those charities happens to be Toys for Tots. So dropping off a toy on your way to or from the Martha's Market sale at E.C.C.O. will tie you to the Marines both ways. Yet another tie is that the woodworker, John Vandeursen, who does the wood cutting for the ladies of Martha's Market, served in the Marine Corps for 20 years. I think you can see one of the reasons John is willing to give up his time and talent to this worthy cause.
The ladies also support Manna House, Boys and Girls Club, local schools and other community based organizations.
While you are out and about this weekend, be sure to look around for a need that you may fill. It may be a canned food drive, or coats for kid's campaign or another cause. Help out. When you are looking at your shopping list make the effort to shop locally or at least in Madera County. When we shop in Fresno the taxes go to Fresno County. They appreciate us but never send a dime back over the river. Shop Madera.