Toys for Tots staff group photo

The United States Sports Academy collected more toys for underprivileged children in Baldwin county than it ever has during its 17-year history of serving as a collection center.

The university teamed up with the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Foundation and the 2011 Toys for Tots campaign resulted in several thousands of gifts being donated for needy children.

“In these poor economic times, it is exciting to see so much giving,” said Academy President and CEO Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich. “It’s important to help as many people as we can, especially now more than ever before.”

All the Academy’s faculty and staff who donated a toy gathered around the Christmas Tree in the Lobby on Wednesday, Dec. 14 to present the Toys for Tots to the Marines.

The Academy dedicated the donation in the name of Jay Courtney, former senior vice commandant of the Daphne Marine Corps League Detachment, who is battling cancer.

Long considered the region’s largest collection center for the Toys for Tots program, local residents, organizations, companies and schools dropped off their new, unwrapped toys at the sports unversity’s campus in Daphne, Ala.

The primary goal of the Toys for Tots program is to deliver, through a new toy at Christmas, a message of hope to less fortunate children that will assist them in becoming responsible, productive and patriotic citizens. Since the inception of Toys for Tots, more than 400 million toys have been distributed to more than 188 million needy children across the country.

The Toys for Tots program was founded in 1947 by U.S. Marine Corps Maj. William L. Hendricks, when Hendricks and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles first collected and distributed 5,000 toys to children. The following year, the Marine Corps Reserve adopted the concept and made it a national endeavor.

To make a donation to Toys for Tots online, please visit the Toys for Tots website.