The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots has been providing toys for children less fortunate year after year
Hope is only a gift away. With Christmas around the corner, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve and the Malibu Navy League will be bringing joy once again for the 14th annual Toys for Tots.
Malibu residents, councilmembers, and First Bank Malibu associates overfilled the donation boxes last week for the annual community event.
Guests donated unwrapped gifts, enjoyed refreshments from Rocky Oaks Estate Vineyards, and entered a raffle for an opportunity to win gift cards to multiple restaurants such as Kristy’s Village Café, Marmalade Café Malibu, and Zinqué Malibu.
The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program has been collecting and distributing toys to more than 6.3 million less fortunate children each year. As Christmas nears, Marines distribute toys themselves and enlist the aid of local social welfare agencies and churches to distribute toys to needy children on Christmas Day.
Malibu Navy League President John Payne introduced the speakers and the Malibu Navy League committee.
Senior Pastor Pastor Brian La Spada, who serves as the head pastor of Calvary Chapel, started off the event with a story and prayer.
In 1987, La Spada’s father, who had been in the Air Force for 23 years, took him and his two brothers to Honolulu, Hawaii, to see the Hickman Joint Base Pearl Harbor.
“I’ll never forget, as a 16-year-old young man, seeing the bullet holes still in the building of Pearl Harbor, and so that always left an impression in my heart, and I share with my son who’s now 6,” La Spada said. “We never takes these things lightly, we always pause, remember, and remember those who always protected the freedom in our country.”
Malibu Mayor Steve Uhring thanked The Malibu Navy League for hosting the Toys for Tots event in Malibu for 14 years.
“This has truly become a Christmas tradition here in Malibu, we thank you very much for that,” Uhring said. “Happy Holidays everyone, enjoy yourselves, John [Payne] thank you very much.”
The Navy League is a nonprofit civilian organization founded in 1902 dedicated to educating the American public, particularly elected officials, about the importance of the nation’s sea services — the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard, and U.S-flag Merchant Marines and supporting the men and women of the sea services and their families. The Navy League has approximately 46,000 members in more than 250 chapters around the world.
Payne said the event was well represented by the community, including the City Council members.
“It’s fantastic to be here in Malibu, the mayor had a few positive words to say, and I think everyone had a great time,” Payne said. “It’s the start of the Christmas season, so we’re thankful that we’re part of it on Dec. 7, Pearl Harbor Day.”
Payne and Uhring complimented the cadets, including the youngest cadet, Henry Steiner, 17.
“The cadets are professionals; they’re young and well-trained, and I think they did fantastic,” Payne said.
Uhring attended the Chanukah event at the Malibu Pier, then joined the Navy League at the First Bank Malibu later in the evening.
“Malibu’s a great town; look at the holiday celebrations that we’re getting; whether you’re Jewish, whether you’re Christian, there’s always something going on where people are trying to take care of other people, and that’s what Malibu is all about,” Payne said.
The US Marines picked up the toys on Monday morning to distribute to children on Christmas Day.
First Bank will be accepting more Toys for Tots toys until Dec. 16. New unwrapped toys only.