As the National Santa for the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, I donate my time and services to this wonderful cause. It was started by Marine Reserve Major, Bill Hendricks, when he enlisted the aid of his fellow Marine Reservists and collected over 5,000 toys during a campaign before Christmas 1947. The following year the United States Marine Corps expanded the program nationwide. And all through the years Hollywood has been there with support. As the Official Santa for the Hollywood Christmas Parade, it was very easy for me to move into a special position where I can lend my time and talents to this wonderful program. For more details on Toys for Tots, please click on any of the links above.
The Navy Flight Demonstration Squadron, beter known as the Blue Angels once again approved the utilization of “Fat Albert” to support the Marine Toys for Tots Program. On 3 December Marine Captain John Hecker, Fat Albert’s Commander, and his team flew Fat Albert to Atlanta and to Washington D.C., where pallets of toys donated by Lockheed Martin employees and the Hasbro were loaded on the aircraft and flown to Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
Upon arrival these toys were married up with truck loads of toys donated by Toys “R” Us, and delivered to less fortunate children in New Jersey and New York were families were still suffering the devasting effects of Superstorm Sandy.
I was proud to join with Marine Sergeant Major Michael Barrett, New Jersey Congressman Jon Runyan and Lieutenant Governor Kim Guadagno of New Jersey in helping distribute these toys.
Every effort to encourage the donation of toys and funds to the Marine Toys for Tots program is welcomed. Each year, on the day after Thanksgiving. a team of Marines, led by T4T Foundation President and CEO, LtGen Pete Osman, and join by myself, Santa Claus, ring the closing bell of the New York Stock Exchange in honor of the annual Anniversary of Toys for Tots.
Joining General Osman and Santa on the Platform are some of the corporate executives that support the campaign and Marines from the New York City Toys for Tots Campaign.
Ringing the Closing Bell on the last trading day before Thanksgiving and “Black Friday” serves as a great reminder to the American Public to purchase a toy for a less fortunate child when one hits the stores on the biggest shopping day of the year.