Toys for Tots is a program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve which distributes toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them gifts for Christmas. The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major Bill Hendricks.

The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit public charity located in Triangle, Virginia, serves to fund, raise funds for, and support the program.

Toys for Tots began as a Los Angeles charitable effort in 1947. Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, was inspired by his wife Diane when she tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but couldn’t find any organization to do so. At her suggestion, he gathered a group of local Marine reservists, including Lieutenant Colonel John Hampton,[3] who coordinated and collected some 5,000 toys for local children that year from collection bins placed outside Warner Bros. movie theaters.[3] Their efforts were so successful that, in 1948, Toys for Tots was launched as a national campaign. Hendricks used his position as director of Public Relations for Warner Brothers Studio to enlist celebrity support, as well as have Walt Disney Studios design the red toy train logo. A theme song for the program was written in 1956 by Sammy Fain and Paul Francis Webster, and would be recorded by Nat King Cole, Jo Stafford, Peggy Lee, among others.

Until 1979, Marine reservists (frequently in their dress blue uniforms) and volunteers would collect and refurbish used toys. In 1980, only new toys were accepted, as reservists were no longer able to dedicate drill hours to refurbish toys, as well as legal concerns and the mixed message of giving hand-me-downs as a message of hope.

In 1991, the Secretary of Defense authorized the creation and affiliation with the non-profit charity foundation. In 1995, the Secretary of Defense approved Toys for Tots as an official mission of the Marine Corps Reserve.

Noting in 1996 that many communities did not have a Marine reservist presence, the commander of the Marine Forces Reserve authorized Marine Corps League detachments and other local organizations to fill the gaps in toy collection and distribution.

In 2009, the program received support from First Lady Michelle Obama, who placed the first collection box at the White House.[6] In December 2011, she took part in a Toys for Tots activity at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling.

As of 2016, the Toys for Tots Program and Foundation have collected and distributed more than 512 million toys.
Mission

The mission of the 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 stated goal is to “deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, and patriotic citizens.”
Notable achievements

2003 Outstanding Nonprofit Organization of the Year
Reader’s Digest Best Children’s Charity of 2003
One of the top 10 charities of 2003 on the Forbes “Gold Star” list.
Charity Navigator four star ratings in both 2005 and 2006.

For more information, please visit our local chapter https://bridgeton-mo.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx


St. Louis Challenger Baseball started in 1994 with the main focus being to make friends. Founder Buck Smith had an urge to give back. He hatched the idea after reading a story about a program in Connecticut that was an offshoot of Little League, tailored to meet the needs of players with developmental disabilities. Using the program as a guide, he threw out the rule book, opening the league to anyone with a developmental disability from age 5 to 90. Each player gets to bat every inning, each team gets an adult pitcher and if needed some can hit off a tee. Everybody runs the bases, some with the help of a volunteer buddy, and all under the supervision of a team coach. (Buddies are kids and young adults between the ages of 10 and 25 who don’t have a disability).  There are no outs, there is no score, everyone hits, everyone runs, everyone wins.

When Buck first introduced Challenger Baseball he had put a small ad in the newspaper and had about 15 players show up and the chaos began. A local softball team volunteered as buddies and helped organize the game, as up until that point it was just running around without direction as how to get everything going. As word spread, families in nearby counties wanted to participate, and today, at least 66 teams and over 800 players participate in Challenger Baseball in the Bi-State area. Leagues have formed now outside of the original St. Louis group, who play every spring at Tilles Park. Leagues in Madison County Illinois, St. Genevieve County, Pike County, Sikeston, Farmington, Ranken Jordan Rehabilitation Hospital, and Franklin County have all now expanded from the one league.

Challenger Baseball provides something to our community that was lacking before. The players flourish in social as well as physical ways. An introverted child can bloom on the field when he hits a ball and a wave of cheers lifts his spirits and makes him feel special. The friends that these players make are lifelong as many of our older players have been playing for 10+ years. The couple hours a week of playing baseball has helped so many players with physical therapy, anger issues, behavoral issues, and anti-social behavior. They can be whoever they want to be on that field. There’s nothing holding them back. They were a homerun hitting, fastest base running baseball player and they won. We all win.

Challenger Baseball depends on the generosity of friends and sponsors to help continue to grow and accommodate every single player who wants to play. They are a grass-roots organization, and have no affiliation with any corporations, foundations, or non-profits. They are a 501(C)(3) organization. The donations they receive go to uniforms that are provided to each player which include a team jersey, pants, socks and a team hat, equipment like batting helmets, many baseballs, bats, gloves, to help with transportation for some players, to help with the All-Star game at Berra Hill, the Awards Picnic, trophies, to help with playing at SLU High School, to play at the River City Rascals Field as well as having a night out their players.

For more information on Challenger Baseball, please visit http://www.challengerbaseball.org

Operation BBQ Relief was founded in May 2011 in response to a need for relief efforts in tornado-stricken Joplin, Missouri, a community of about 50,000 residents. Volunteers from competition BBQ teams from eight states answered the need to help feed displaced families, police, fire, National Guard and emergency personnel.

 

Operation BBQ Relief was able to serve over 120,000 meals over 13 days. Food was delivered to shelters, hospitals, senior living communities and the Humane Society. Volunteers loaded food into vehicles and delivered directly to families in the impacted areas. The operation was made possible by all who contributed food and supplies and funding from across the country.

Operation BBQ Relief continues to respond to natural disasters and other situations to help feed displaced residents and emergency personnel.

The St. Louis BBQ Society believes strongly in this organization which is funded by private donations.  Please join us in supporting this great volunteer organization with a contribution to help them continue their great work.

Please follow this link to their donation page.

 

President Franklin Roosevelt’s personal struggle with polio led him to create the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis at a time when polio was on the rise. Better known as the March of Dimes, the foundation established a polio patient aid program and funded research for vaccines developed by Jonas Salk, MD and Albert Sabin, MD. These vaccines effectively ended epidemic polio in the United States.

Its original mission accomplished, the foundation turned its focus to preventing birth defects and infant mortality. The March of Dimes has led the way to discover the genetic causes of birth defects, to promote newborn screening, and to educate medical professionals and the public about best practices for healthy pregnancy. We have supported research for surfactant therapy to treat respiratory distress and helped initiate the system of regional neonatal intensive care for premature and sick babies. Our recent Folic Acid Campaign achieved a dramatic reduction in the incidence of neural tube defects, birth defects of the brain and spine.

For more information on the March of Dimes, please visit their website www.marchofdimes.org

Started in 1959, The BackStoppers provides needed financial assistance and support to the spouses and dependent children of all police officers, firefighters and volunteer firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs in our coverage area who have lost their lives or suffered a catastrophic injury performing their duty.

The BackStoppers currently assists 81 families with 66 dependent children and has supported 160 families since 1959.
Our Assistance

The BackStoppers’ assistance is immediate and ongoing. Within hours of the death of a police officer, firefighter, publicly-funded paramedic or EMT, his or her family receives a check for $5,000 from The BackStoppers with assurance of further help.

Within a few weeks, The BackStoppers’ representatives meet with the surviving spouse to identify the family’s other financial obligations. The organization’s goal is to make the family debt-free, and then to provide ongoing support for education and other extraordinary expenses.

For more information on  The BackStoppers, please visit their website backstoppers.org

Friends of Kids with Cancer was founded in 1992 by Jill Turec, a Developmental Specialist, along with Molly Henry and Suzie Snowden, who were parents of children in treatment who witnessed their kids struggles and saw the need for diversions in their lives.

Friends of Kids with Cancer has a proud 25-year history exclusively in St. Louis of helping kids with cancer…be kids. Jill Turec, Developmental Specialist at Mercy Clinic Children’s Cancer and Hematology Center, along with concerned parents, Molly Henry and Susie Snowden, saw the great need to enrich the daily lives and divert the attention of the patients outside of the medical treatments. These three women shared a dream that every child with cancer would experience as much fun, laughter, support and normalcy as possible. It was this idea that was the birth of Friends of Kids with Cancer. Starting in the office of Dr. Bob Bergamini in 1992, the inaugural program, The Big Shelf, now known as the Toy Closet, was launched to brighten the long gloomy and painful days spent in the treatment center.

From that day on, Friends has been driven to meet the ever-evolving needs of not only the patients but their entire families. Everything Friends does is suggested by medical professionals and patient families. Dr. Bob’s philosophy is to “treat the needs of the entire child…not only the cancer”. Friends is such an important and unique charity because it gives back something that medicine can’t. The Educational, Emotional and Recreational programs build self-esteem and improve the quality of life to assure that the patients and their families remain positive, focused and prepared to meet their future needs.

Friends of Kids with Cancer has a unique niche for the families of children battling cancer: the glue. Cancer doesn’t just fight the blood cells in a child’s body; it puts a strain on the entire family physically, mentally and financially. Fighting cancer is tough for everyone, but for a child with so little life experiences, as well as the social and emotional handicaps that accompany their treatment, make it extremely trying. Friends of Kids with Cancer is the glue that mends and holds together all of the devastating pieces cancer creates.

Friends of Kids with Cancer doesn’t create miracles; those are left to modern medicine and the doctors and nurses who administer them. What we do, however, is create a positive frame of mind. Universally, being happy, positive and motivated makes every child more likely to succeed at whatever their goal happens to be. We believe the same applies here. Friends cultivates mental well-being with programs that help children and their families fighting cancer, cope with the daily challenges they face, make the best out of the situation they are in, and most importantly, remember that they will not be robbed of their childhood.

For more information on Friends of Kids with Cancer, please visit their website www.friendsofkids.com

Circle Of Concern serves west St. Louis County, a part of the St. Louis metropolitan area known for beautiful homes, corporate headquarters, good schools and a thriving business community. West County is also home to families that struggle every day to make ends meet. Lay-offs, underemployment, illness or injury, age and more – many families in the thick of West County prosperity find themselves urgently in need of assistance.

Circle Of Concern can help. We are, first and foremost, a food pantry. We serve approximately 2,000 individuals monthly and more than 1,200 households annually.

At Circle, feeding families is just the beginning, though. We also offer financial support, scholarships, job mentoring, children’s programs and holiday events. All of these efforts work together http://www.circleofconcern.org/to take a little off our clients’ financial plates, allowing them to use their limited resources to regain their financial footing.

For more information on Circle of Concern, please visit their web page www.circleofconcern.org

Focus Marines Foundation is a nationally recognized, 501(c)3 non-profit organization based in St. Louis, Missouri. It was founded by Marine Corps veterans with the mission to help combat wounded Marines, and FMF Navy Corpsmen transition from military to civilian lives.

The organization was founded in 2010 with a commitment to address the needs of our country’s embattled post 9/11 veterans and their struggles with the wounds of war: the visible as well as the invisible: post-traumatic stress (PTS) and Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI).

Focus was developed to help struggling combat veterans overcome their wounds and become active members of society.

For more information on the Focus Marines Foundation, please visit their webpage focusmarines.org

 

St. Louis BBQ Society is teaming up with WIL Radio and Shriner’s Hospital to make Christmas a little brighter for ill and needy children.

Last year we delivered purchased toys and donated gifts and this year we plan on doing even more. The folks with

WIL will be doing a live radio broadcast during the donation event, more details to come for dates and time.

We’d love some members to be present and help us with the presentation of toys. We really would like a personal touch and so we earnestly request that you bring a new, unwrapped toy to the Gala for a sick or needy child. We will have toy donation bins at the Gala for all the donated toys.

We feel that ‘Giving to the kids’ would be a great ‘Holiday’ theme for the Gala while making their holidays a little brighter for some great kids!

If you would like to donate money to help buy toys, please enter the amount you would like to donate.

$

If you have any questions please contact Julie Glaser at 314-315-5177 or email at CARP1143@att.net

This Thanksgiving the St Louis BBQ Society is proud to help support The Brass Rail Restaurant in O’Fallon, Missouri with it’s efforts to feed 10,000 – 12,000 meals this Thanksgiving.

Scott Ellinger the owner, is passionate for this cause and each year has increased the amount of meals served by

thousands. He has been providing these free meals for 5 years. Anyone in need can call in to his restaurant and request the meals. He offers delivery, carry out and dine in on Thanksgiving day. He starts preparing the meals the Sunday before and prepares items each day until Thanksgiving day when the meals go out.

The board voted to donate to help support this cause and we have offered our support in any way that we can help. We will have several teams set up on his parking lot cooking and slicing turkeys. By having these smokers available to him, we can help free up his kitchen to prepare the side items.

He is also in need of donations and volunteers. There are jobs that anyone can do that wants to help.

He will need help with food prep Sunday through Wednesday. He will also need cooks and drivers on Thursday (Thanksgiving) as well as packers and cleanup people. Shifts are typically 2 hours, but you can sign up for more.

Please call the Brass Rail soon at (636) 329-1349 and tell them you are with the St Louis BBQ Society and would like to sign up for a shift. Let them know which day and what jobs you may be able to help with and they will sign you up.

If you want to deliver meals, be prepared with a full tank of gas as they serve a 60 mile radius. The have the cars line up, give you a route and then on to the next car. You can do one route or some come back and deliver more.

They are also accepting donations. 100% of the donations will go towards the meals. Please visit https://www.paypal.me/brassrail to make a donation through PayPal or stop by the restaurant at 4601 Highway K, in O’Fallon, MO