One hundred toys that ranging from baby rattles to basketballs, donated by The Coronado Shores residents, are on their way to needy children in San Diego this Christmas.
The Shores General Manager Jerry McDonald organized a Toy for Tots drive this year and he is happy with its success. “When I was growing up I was a recipient. Every Christmas I saw the Marine Corps truck with Santa driving down the street giving toys to the kids. I thought it happened everywhere; only later I found out the toys were for the needy,” he said.
McDonald eventually joined the Marine Corps and retired after 22 years in 1997. While he was a Marine he organized Toys for Tots drives and collected and gave away toys himself. “I started as a recipient. I’ve been involved… and then since retirement [I’ve done] food and clothes drives,” he said.
McDonald suggested the drive at The Shores and residents thought it was a good idea. “I know how important it is to a child to get a toy for Christmas. If it wasn’t for Toys for Tots I couldn’t get a toy. How do you tell a kid ‘you’re not going to get a toy this year,’” he explained.
“Especially this year, with many losing their jobs because of the pandemic, many kids will have no toys.”
McDonald was encouraged by the participation of the residents. “I want to make it bigger every year. I hope to collect 1,000 toys. The goal is to continue. There’s always going to be a needy child. I want to do our part at the Coronado Shores,” he said.
The toy drive drop off location was first located at the clubhouse, then right outside McDonald’s office. “People were excited about it. Some people came back more than once. There were times when a parent or a grandparent would bring a child with them to teach them how to give to someone in need. That was probably the most enlightening,” he said.
McDonald pointed out that a homeowner and part time worker at the Shores, Elliot Feldman, as the unofficial ambassador for the drive this year.
Toys for Tots was founded by U.S. Marine Corps reservist Major Bill Hendricks in 1947 in Los Angeles after his wife Diane realized she couldn’t find an organization to donate a doll to. The following year, the organization collected 5,000 toys. Collection bins were located outside Warner Bros. movie theaters. In time Warner Bros. studios got involved in the toy drive and Walt Disney Studio designed the train logo. Toys for Tots became the official Marine Corps Reserve mission in 1995. While in the beginning toys were refurbished by Marine reservists, it was later decided that only new toys could be donated.