Heard on the Hill

Senate and Marines begin Christmas toy drive for disadvantaged kids

Annual Toys for Tots drive runs until Dec. 4

Sens. Jon Tester of Montana, left, and Johnny Isakson of Georgia during last year’s toy drive. (Courtesy U.S. Office of Senate Photography)

The Senate is teaming up with the U.S. Marines for its annual mission to provide Christmas toys for disadvantaged children during the holiday season.

The chamber on Tuesday night unanimously approved a resolution introduced by Sens. Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Jon Tester of Montana that allows the Senate to collect toys for the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots drive.

Normal Senate ethics rules prohibit resources from being used to solicit donations. But the resolution lifts that ban until the toy drive concludes on Dec. 4.

“I thank my Senate colleagues for allowing this special tradition to continue here in support of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots charity drive for children at the holidays,” Isakson, who chairs the Veterans’ Affairs Committee, said in a statement.

The annual toy drive was started in 1947 by Marine Corps Reserve Maj. Bill Hendricks after his wife, Diane, made a few handcrafted dolls and asked him to deliver them to a local agency that supports children in need.

Last year more than 122,000 toys were distributed to about 44,000 children in Washington, according to Toys for Tots.

“It is an honor to continue the tradition of the Toys for Tots charity drive with the United States Marine Corps Reserve and Chairman Isakson,” said Tester, the ranking Democrat on Veterans’ Affairs. “This annual drive is a special opportunity for our Senate colleagues to participate in a worthy cause, bringing joy to deserving children and families around the holidays.”

Senate offices are encouraged to maintain a collection bin, and one will also be located outside of Veterans’ Affairs in Russell 412.

Offices interested in requesting a Toys for Tots collection bin can contact Emily_Blair@vetaff.senate.gov or devin.a.davis@usmc.mil.

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