Vista Grande High School Marine Corps JROTC cadets stepped up and gave ‘Thanks’ and ‘Giving’ enhanced meaning. The cadets enthusiastically sacrificed relaxation and personal time with family to help with the kick-off of the Toys for Tots annual campaign. In partnership with the Marine Corps League’s Toys for Tots annual toy drive, cadets greeted patrons at the entrances of the Casa Grande Walmart Supercenter located at 1741 East Florence Boulevard on Sunday, November 29.
During these unusually challenging times of life with a pandemic, many aspects of our lives have been profoundly impacted. Casa Grande families are no exception to these hardships as many face tremendous challenges with meeting essential needs. Though Toys for Tots does not meet all basic needs, it does provide families with some relief from the financial strain brought on during Christmas time through donated toys.
Marine Corps uniform-wearing cadets dressed warmly in the cool shadow cast by the great building as they proudly stood and greeted many, generous, local citizens conducting their holiday shopping. Some gave new toys, while others donated money or both to this worthy cause. Cadets did their part by informing interested patrons on key points of the Toys for Tots organization. Passing individuals learned that the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program began in 1947, and it distributes an average of 18 million toys to seven million less fortunate children annually. Cadets maintained their military bearing while directing toys and funds to the appropriate bins placed near the replica, miniature three-car train logo design crafted by Walt Disney on the first Toys for Tots poster. Cadets exhibited increased enthusiasm this year because of the known financial challenges caused by the pandemic.
Veterans of the community and cadets facilitated the collection of 141 new toys, five bikes, and nearly $600.00. When the cadets were propositioned by their Marine Corps JROTC instructors, they gladly volunteered as they have done in past years to support this noble cause. “Cadet support is so overwhelming,” noted one of the program organizers. “We have to ask some of them to leave.” Though cadets were scheduled to volunteer in three-hour shifts, they all stayed the entire day. When asked why they decided to stay all day, Cadets exclaimed, “The act of helping others is very fulfilling, and it makes my troubles seem less important.” Many cadets are currently scheduled to volunteer and assist for a couple of weekends.