I've been volunteering with the San Diego Toys for Tots Campaign since 1994 when an email came around my high-tech company asking for a little database support to help manage the distribution of toys. I went to visit the U.S.M.C. Reserve Center and found a group of dedicated, loving people using their tactical skills to perform their mission - gathering resources and distributing toys to needy children in the San Diego area. My job was to design and develop an application that would ensure families with babies received baby toys, families with tweens received age-appropriate toys, and that enough toys were collected to distribute to the age-groups. When the deadlines are approaching, the donated funds go toward purchasing toys for the under-filled age groups. Usually that is the 12-18 range because the general public frequently forgets that these are sensitive children, too, and they should not have to go without at the holidays any more than a 6-year old should.

Toys for Tots, already a charity I supported, became the charity of my passion. The software and systems have long since been upgraded, but I continue to promote Toys for Tots every year wherever I am 'involved.' For the last several years, that has been the San Diego Center for Spiritual Living. I educate the people about the Toys for Tots program, bring donation bins from the Reserve Center, encourage generous donations, and deliver the donations to the Reserve Center in time for distribution before Christmas Eve.

This year, we are able to do more because we have our own facility. This year, we are hosting a public Christmas Party with the 'admission price' of a new, unwrapped toy. This year, we have a donation bin at our 10th Ave. entry gates for street-traffic to make their donations. This year we have our own windows where we can post our Toys for Tots Sponsorship decals. This year, I'd like to deliver 4 bins of toys (or more) rather than two. Every year, my heart grows more loving as I see the generous hearts of those who hear the story of how Toys for Tots began with a single doll and what it has grown to become as millions of toys are distributed to our children in need.

PLEASE COME TO OUR PARTY supporting the TOYS FOR TOTS Campaign here in San Diego. If you can't stay for the entire evening, please bring a new unwrapped toy to brighten the holidays for one child in San Diego. Who you are makes a difference.

IT'S A CHRISTMAS PARTY!! Pot-Luck, Tree-Trimming, and TOYS FOR TOTS Celebration! DEC. 1st 5 PM - 9 PM

We'll string the lights in advance. You get to trim the tree with new and old favorite ornaments! You may bring a special one to hang.

To make this 5:00 party even more fun, it's a Pot-Luck! Bring a dish or goodies to share. Meal begins at 6:00 PM. Questions? Call (619) 491-3087.

Open your heart and Make a Child Happy! Bring a New, Unwrapped Toy, and deposit it into the TOYS FOR TOTS donation barrels. All toys donated go to needy children in the San Diego Community. Your generosity is truly the Gift!

BUT WAIT - THERE'S MORE... Music and Laughter and Fun and Music and Friends and Food and Music and ...well, you get the picture.

Whatever you bring or don't bring, please bring your self and join us for this joyful start of the Season of Light. We're right on the corner of 10th & G in the Heart of Downtown's East Village.

More about the Toys for Tots program:

The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program 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 primary goal of Toys for Tots is to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.

The objectives of Toys for Tots are to help needy children throughout the United States experience the joy of Christmas; to play an active role in the development of one of our nation's most valuable natural resources - our children; to unite all members of local communities in a common cause for three months each year during the annual toy collection and distribution campaign; and to contribute to better communities in the future.

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