The Cape Atlantic Marine Corps League Detachment 194 collected 52,000 toys and helped 3,500 kids in Atlantic and southern Ocean counties have a better Christmas in 2018 with it's participation in Toys 4 Tots.
"We couldn't due this with out the help of our supporters," said league member Tom Walsh. Bally's Atlantic City and Resorts Casino Hotel are two of the program's most generous sponsors, he said. "We also get great support from the 177th" Fighter Wing of the New Jersey Air National Guard.
Toys 4 Tots was started in 1947 as a way for Marine Corps Reserve Units to help children have a great Christmas. Due to deployments and reduction of forces, many reserve units asked the Marine Corps League to help out.
Detachment 194 has been spearheading the drive in Atlantic County for 10 years. In 2018, it gave out 52,371 toys to 3,579 children plus various charities that distribute them as they see fit. Detachment 194 also gave out 92 bikes in a special raffle to insure fairness.
The Cape Atlantic Marine Corps League Detachment 194 was incorporated in 1987. It is a 501(c) military veteran group consisting of honorably discharged Marines and Navy corpsman who have served with Marines. The group has 80 members and meets in Galloway Township on the second Thursday of each month. It represents the Marines in local parades, including Smithville's 4th of July, Absecon's and Atlantic City's.
The group assists veterans and families of all services in need. It also gives three $1,000 scholarships to college-bound family of members of the detachment. So far it has given $11,000 to those students.
The group's chairpeople are Joe Ballentine and Bill McCrudden.
The group is always looking for members, Walsh said, and interested people can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.