Marines across the country kicked off their annual Toys for Tots Program on Thursday. It is an event where customers donate new unwrapped toys and money for needy children.
One of the locations where toys are donated is the Toys R Us in West Hartford.
Every year for the event kickoff, the Marine Foundation uses donations to purchase the first batch of toys. This year they received $15,000 to shop in West Hartford.
“I did not grow up well off and this is how, a couple years, I got toys under the Christmas tree was through Toys for Tots. So it is really cool for me to be able to give back to the children that were in my position,” Sgt. Ryan Magana, of the U.S. Marine Corps, said.
The Toys for Tots program runs through the holiday season and customers are encouraged to donate unwrapped toys at any Toys R Us or Babies R Us through Dec. 6 or make a monetary donation through Christmas Eve.
“It is awesome because when you work for Toys R Us the ultimate goal is always to make sure every child is happy," Peter Litin, store manager for the Toys R Us West Hartford store, said.
All the donated toys go to the Marine's distribution warehouse in Plainville to be sorted. They are then gifted to the needy children in Hartford and Litchfield Counties.