THANK YOU! Northeast Wisconsin gives sacks full of toys to Toys for Tots




Wednesday was the final day to donate to the Toys for Tots campaign. WBAY collected toys at our studios in downtown Green Bay, while the Home Builders Association of the Fox Cities collected them in Appleton. U.S. Marines braved the single-digit temperatures and below-zero wind chills to provide curbside service to all the generous donors, and there were many of them!

One person we talked with helped donate more than 300 toys, thanks to a competition at the 222 Building in Appleton. The building is shared by Thedacare, Affinity and Johnson Bank, and the businesses compete each year to see who can collect the most toys.

“We love it. It’s great,” Natalie Klika from Johnson Bank said, “just because we know that some kids just don’t get the best of everything and how we’re able to help them out and hope they have a merry Christmas.”

Volunteers from all across the area sort the toys, separating them into different age groups and categories. Toys will be distributed next week to parents who are registered to receive toys this year, and they’ll get to personally pick out toys that are perfect for their children.

“We have almost 4,700 children in Brown County signed up for this program — between 1,800 and 1,900 families that have, that just don’t quite have the means to make it a nice Christmas,” Steve Jandt from the Salvation Army said, “and that’s where we step in and try to get them toys and have a nice Christmas for their family.”


Use the scroll bar to see more drop-off sites ⤴

If you can’t see the list above, please click here or use the interactive Google map

WBAY-TV is proud to again help the US Marine Corps carry on a decades-long tradition, Toys for Tots.

While many charitable organizations make sure children have clothes, food and a roof over their head at Christmas time, the Toys for Tots mission is simple: Make sure they have something to play with. Play stimulates learning and imagination, relationships and social skills.

Help make sure children have a toy to open this Christmas. Bring a new, unwrapped toy for a boy or girl, infant to teen, to one of these many locations. Please, no clothes or gift cards. Monetary donations are welcome and will be used to buy toys. If you know of a drop-off site or donation event that isn’t listed here, please let us know at, and we’ll confirm it and post it here.

Each year the holidays are made brighter for children in our communities, with the support of volunteers and the generosity of thousands in Northeast Wisconsin.

The toys donated are distributed to children throughout Northeast Wisconsin…not just a gift under the tree…but a message of hope…motivation to grow into responsible citizens and community leaders. Now more than ever the Toys for Tots program needs your support. Together, we can make a difference in the life of a child.

WBAY-TV, 101 WIXX, Home Builders Association of the Fox Cities and the Salvation Army are proud to support the U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots program.

How Toys for Tots began

In 1947, the wife of a U.S. Marine Corps reservist handcrafted a doll and asked her husband to take it to an organization that would give it to a needy child for Christmas. Major (later Colonel) Bill Hendricks couldn’t find one, so at his wife’s urging and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles started one. It was so successful, the Marine Corps adopted it in 1948 and it spread to Marine Corps Reserve units nationwide and received publicity from Hollywood celebrities (it didn’t hurt that Hendricks’s weekday job was head of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio).

In 1948, animator Walt Disney designed the Toys for Tots logo still in use today.

Starting in 1980, Toys for Tots began accepting only new toys. Three things precipitated this move: 1) Changes in defense that required more training for Marine Reservists, so they had less time to refurbish used toys; 2) Growing public awareness of safety and health issues with older toys; 3) A feeling that giving hand-me-down toys didn’t give underprivileged children the message Marines wanted to send them on Christmas Day.

In 1991, acting on U.S. Secretary of Defense authorization, the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation was created to be the fund-raising and support arm of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.

In 1995, the Secretary of Defense declared toys for Tots an official activity of the Marine Corps and official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.

In 2014 and 2015, Toys for Tots had a 97:3 program to support ratio.

Toys for Tots has been named Readers Digest’s “Best Children’s Charity”; met all 20 standards for the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Alliance; and for years has received Charity Navigator’s highest rating, four stars, for its sound fiscal management.

Source: Toys for Tots Foundation

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