PITTSBURGH, Pa. --
The Reserve Marines of Bravo Company, 4th Law Enforcement Battalion, Force Headquarters Group, took time from their regular everyday life and their Marine Corps training to conduct the Toys for Tots program in North Versailles, Pennsylvania, Dec. 3, 2021.
U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Cristin Osornio, the supply chief for Bravo Company, is in charge in of the Toys for Tots program in the central Pittsburgh area. She said the Marines took time from their days before and after monthly training to organize and prepare toys for delivery to children whose parents cannot afford toys for Christmas.
“Everyone that showed up to help is here because they want to be here,” Osornio said. “There are some days where we work 12 to 13 hours or more getting everything ready, but seeing the impact the program has makes all that time worth it.”
Every Marine Corps Reserve station starts planning for Toys for Tots in October. Not only do they stay ready for any battle, but they work to make Christmas a little brighter for children in Pittsburgh and across the country.
Osornio said she volunteered to head up the team in North Versailles this year.
“The idea of giving toys out to kids sounds awesome,” she said. “Who wouldn’t want to do that?”
After working with the program for a couple months, she said her thoughts haven’t changed.
“Taking part in the toy drives and similar events, you really see the love that Pittsburgh has for the program and the military in general,” she said. “I see that the program works and it reaches those less fortunate kids.”
The Toys for Tots program was first created in 1947 by Marine Reserve Maj. Bill Hendricks, in Los Angeles. In its first year, the program delivered more than 5,000 toys to less fortunate children. After seeing the program’s success, the Commandant of the Marine Corps mandated that every Marine Reserve unit would implement the campaign.
Toys for Tots now delivers an average of 18 million toys to 7 million children each year. If you would like to learn how you can make a difference in your community through the Marine Corps Reserve visit rmi.marines.com or contact your local Marine Corps recruiter.