(Dec. 8, 2012) Armstrong's holiday tradition of giving continued for the 2012 season with President Linda Bleicken and Carl Bleicken's annual tree planting followed by cider, hot chocolate, holiday treats and, best of all, the presentation of Toys for Tots donations to the United States Marine Corps Reserve for children throughout the Coastal Empire.
The festivities began with the Bleicken's 4th annual tree planting. This year, a Queen Palm was planted in the International Garden. Native to South America, this graceful palm anchors the future site of the South American plaza, a new phase of the International Garden forthcoming in 2013.
A cocoa and cider reception followed in the Student Union where the Toys for Tots donations were presented to representatives from the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. Nearly 400 brand new toys were donated by students, faculty, and staff across campus for this year's drive. Donations were also encouraged at Pirate basketball games throughout the month of November, and the annual student Variety Show raised $300 for Toys for Tots.
“This is the third year for me organizing Toys for Tots,” said Kwame Phillips, president of the Student Government Association (SGA). “It is a collaboration with the Athletic Department, SGA, and Staff Council. This was our most successful year and there was more involvement with other organizations on campus, particularly the Variety Show. More toys were donated this year, and more money was raised.”
The mission of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys and to distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to needy children in the community. By delivering shiny new holiday toys, Toys for Tots strives to deliver a message of hope to needy youngsters that will motivate them to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens, and community leaders.