Christmas is traditionally a time of joy, family, faith, hope, and charity. It’s easy to forget the true meaning of the holiday when you’re sitting in front of the tree on Christmas morning, waist deep in wrapping paper. We forget that not everyone is as fortunate as to be surrounded by loved ones during the holidays, not everyone is able to take time off work to spend Christmas with their families, and not everyone can afford to buy their children gifts to open on Christmas morning.
One young man in town is trying to make a difference. Petty Officer Second Class Tyler Drake shared what his holiday plans are for the month of December.
With enthusiasm Tyler explained, “I like volunteering when I can because it gives me a chance to meet new people and also boost my evals. Volunteering also gives me a good feeling so I look forward to it. I have known about Toys for Tots for a while and have donated to them in the past, but this year I wanted to think of a way to boost my evals and donate a lot more at the same time. To buy a lot of toys and get noticed by my command, I knew I had to do something big. While driving, I thought of raising funds by helping people put up Christmas lights and letting them decide how much they would like to donate. Everyone has been super friendly and very generous in donating. Way more than I expected and I can’t thank them enough.”
Tyler has been enlisted in the Navy for over four years now. He spent three years overseas in Atsugi, Japan working on F-18E (jets) and then was relocated to Coronado, and is now fixing the H-60R (helicopters). He is a second class petty officer at HSM-41 The Seahawks and his rate is AT. His activities at work include troubleshooting the electronics, rewiring, and working in different areas of the aircraft when help is needed. He intends to reenlist and possibly make the Navy a full-time career. In the meantime, he has had the opportunity and means to help assist people with their Christmas lights displays and has been donating all contributions towards Toys for Tots.
Tyler also added, “I love decorating for the holidays and being creative, like when the lights blink and dance to Christmas songs. I don’t really have a message, but maybe others may try to make their own ideas on how to help raise funds for their cause without just standing in front of a store and hoping people might donate.”
The Marine Toys for Tots Foundation is the fund raising, funding and support organization for the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program. From 1991 – 2012, the Foundation supplemented local toy collections with over 102 million toys valued at $750 million. Concurrently, the Foundation provided over $10.5 million worth of promotion and support materials, which enable local Toys for Tots Coordinators to conduct more effective local campaigns.
The primary goal of the Foundation is the same as that of the overall Toys for Tots program: to deliver, through a shiny new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders. Whether it is small non-profit or a worldwide organization, charities are an integral part of every community. Charities change the lives of people in need every day with even the smallest of donations making a large impact in a community.
Becoming involved in philanthropy by supporting local and global charities is needed now more than ever. Since the economic downturn in 2008, charities have seen a dip in donations. Some non-profits are hurting more than others, but for many organizations the goal remains clear to help make the community and the world a better place for everyone.
You can contact Tyler via his facebook page or at 661-877-7735.