Marines storm local Walmart to buy toys for tots

(Photo by Rhyan Henson)
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WACO, Texas (KWTX) Eighteen Marines from the Waco Reserve Center landed at Walmart Thursday morning to begin the annual effort to make sure every child finds gifts under the tree on Christmas morning.

Marines all over the country support the annual Toys for Tots campaign, and that includes Leathernecks in Waco.

Last year across the country Marines provided a Merry Christmas for more than 50,000 children, local organizer Pete Laeyva said.

Toys for Tots began in 1947 when Marine Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR, and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children.

The idea came from Hendrick's wife, Diane.

The group shops for toys for kids aged infant to 13.

Laeyva said his efforts fall in line with the holiday spirit.

“Sometimes you get to see the family's faces when they get toys,” he said.

“Hopefully were helping them out, it makes you feel good.”

Next month KWTX Chief Forecaster Rusty Garrett will be helping out Toys for Tots.