Toys for Tots – A Year-Round Effort to Spread Joy and Increase Literacy

by Beth Triplett

Thanks to Eastern Iowa’s own version of Santa Claus, over 5,300 children have a merrier holiday each year through the Toys for Tots program. Coordinated nationally by the United States Marine Corps Foundation, and locally by Dubuque 365ink’s publisher Bryce Parks, more than 22,000 toys are procured and delivered throughout four counties (Dubuque, Clayton, Grant County, WI, and part of Jo Daviess, IL), helping to ensure that there are holiday gifts for all children, regardless of the ability of their guardians to buy them.

Parks has been running the program since 2008, following in the footsteps of his Marine father who ran the area’s Toys for Tots for seven years before passing.

“I did it the first year or two for my dad,” Parks said. “But then I could see the impact it was making, and I saw what it could do outside of just Christmas. We had a machine working; why should it only impact one day per year?”

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