Toys for Tots: The gift of giving

Members of the Black Falcons prepare to distribute donation boxes.

GH Falcon Staff

Members of the Black Falcons prepare to distribute donation boxes.

Y-Nhu Do and Mary Tufts

Holly wreaths on every door, scented candles in every kitchen and best of all: presents underneath every tree. Each year, children across the world look forward to Christmas and the presents they will receive. However, some children are unable to enjoy all the delights that come with the end of the year.

With the holiday season quickly approaching, Green Hope’s Black Falcons are doing their part to help the less fortunate receive well-deserved gifts. The club has partnered with the Marine Toys for Tots group to collect new, unopened toys. These donations will be given to families who cannot afford Christmas gifts. 

Toys for Tots was first created in 1947 by a single marine, Bill Hendricks, and his wife, Diane. After assembling other local marines, Hendricks was able to collect and distribute 5,000 toys. Now, the program is run by the Marine Corps and tens of thousands of volunteers. With 830 different local campaigns, Toys for Tots is able to donate around 18 million toys to children each year, bringing joy to children across the world. 

At Green Hope, the Black Falcons have spear-headed the push for toy donations from the very start. Mr. Christopher Gaw, the advisor of the Black Falcons, provided a background of the initiative.

“Originally, it was an idea I came up with back in the first year. We had something called Nerds in Need and we collected Star Wars toys in a big box for five or seven years. We would collect the toys and then take them to a Toys for Tots donation center,” said Mr. Gaw. 

Santa Gaws posters are now hung in many hallways, signaling the start of the Toys for Tots season. (GH Falcon Staff)

The Black Falcons now work directly with Toys for Tots. This year, the club has distributed 15 of the signature Toys for Tots donation boxes across the campus for students, teachers and administrators to fill. 

Vaishy Kumar (‘23), the president of the Black Falcons, believes that the toy drive is a great way to give back to those in need.

“Toys for tots is a great way to give kids a little joy for the holidays. Most of us have great memories of getting gifts throughout the holiday season, and having the opportunity to be able to give that experience to others is very important,” Kumar said. “It’s a collective effort and everyone needs to chip in to do their part. If everyone in the school donates one toy, I think that will go a long way.” 

Last year, the drive was incredibly successful. “We killed it,” Mr. Gaw said. “Last year, we filled my pickup truck, Butler’s pickup truck, Andrus’ little Rav4, and two students’ cars.”

The Black Falcons are aiming for a bigger bounty this year: they plan to fill the school’s iconic blue activity bus. Mr. Gaw said, “This year we want to get more toys. Our campaign is ‘Fill the Bus.’ We want to fill the blue bus and we want as many toys as we can possibly get.”

The Toys for Tots drive has always been one of Green Hope’s biggest charity events, and this year is no exception. As his final words of wisdom, Mr. Gaw, affectionately known as Santa Gaws around this time of year, said, “Don’t be hesitant! This is the holidays! Everybody is Santa Claus during the holidays. It doesn’t matter what you believe in, the holidays are all about giving.”