Members of the Jesse Andrews, Jr. Marine Corps League Detachment and faculty and staff of the United States Sports Academy celebrate a record 9,000 toys collected and distributed this year to needy children in central and northern Baldwin County under the Toys for Tots program.


DAPHNE, Ala. – The Jesse Andrews, Jr. Marine Corps League Detachment and the United States Sports Academy, both of Daphne, collected and distributed more than 10,000 toys this year for the Toys for Tots program, the largest number in the 20 years the Academy and the U.S. Marines have been partnering in the annual charitable endeavor.

The Academy and Marine organizations have collected and distributed tens of thousands of toys to children since first partnering for the Toys for Tots program 20 years ago.

This year, the Jesse Andrews, Jr. Marine Corps League Detachment coordinated donations, while the Academy served as the central collection center throughout the annual drive. Donated toys come from individuals and organizations and go to children throughout central and northern Baldwin County. The detachment and Academy then work with local charitable organizations to ensure that the toys get to families who need them during the holiday season.

“I am very proud of the success of this year’s campaign,” said Kenya Thomas, detachment adjutant and coordinator of this year’s Toys for Tots campaign.

“I think it shows the community that we care and that we will do what it takes to make sure that children in our part of the county have a very Merry Christmas.”

“With the economy, I thought that this would be a very difficult year, but Americans are the most generous people in the world; the people here in Baldwin County exemplify that,” said Dr. Thomas P. Rosandich, Academy President Emeritus and originator of its Toys for Tots partnership.

“It is amazing where the toys came from,” he said. “There is nothing more touching than seeing school children from throughout the county giving to children who are disadvantaged and there are many.”

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.

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.

The United States Sports Academy is an independent, non-profit, regionally accredited, special mission Sports University created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research, and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports. For more information about the Academy, call 251-626-3303 or visit