Yahoo Contributor Network
This article was created on the Yahoo Contributor Network, where users like you are published on Yahoo every day. Learn more »Yahoo Contributor Network
San Diego Chargers Give Back for the Holidays: Fan’s Perspective
While the San Diego Chargers have been struggling with injuries this season, their drive to help those in the local San Diego community continues. This Sunday, December 11th, they host the Buffalo Bills. Their chances of pulling off a win are looking good but in the end the big winners will be local area children.
At the gates of Qualcomm Stadium you will find men and women from the United States Marine Corps accepting donations of toys. This will represent the 22nd annual Chargers "Toys for Tots" Toy Drive and will help collect toys to be given to families in need this Christmas.
Toys for Tots began in 1947 by Major Bill Hendricks, USMCR and other Marine Reservists in Los Angeles. The idea originated when his wife made a doll and told him to drop it off somewhere that provided gifts for needy children. Unfortunately there was no such organization in operation and his wife suggested he start one. That year they collected over 5,000 toys.
With this success, the Marine Corps decided to expand the operation to a national level. The little train logo used by Toys for Tots was created by Walt Disney in 1948. When the program started, they accepted new and used toys. During drill weekends throughout October, November and December, reservists would clean and refurbish the used toys. However, in 1980, the program changed to only accept new toys for distribution.
Throughout the years the program has collected some 351 million toys for over 166 million children.
The Chargers and their San Diego Chargers Community Foundation that began in 1995 believe in helping the local community and the Toys for Tots drive is only one area in which they do this. The Chargers Champions program, which was started in 2000, is designed to provide grants to local area schools for physical fitness, nutrition and athletic programs.
Given the current unemployment rate and how many families are struggling just to pay the bills, this holiday season is difficult for many. Organizations like Toys for Tots are able to deliver a little bit of Christmas cheer to many children who might not otherwise receive a gift. So, whether the Chargers win or lose this Sunday, the Toys for Tots program and many children around the area will be the real winners.
If you plan on attending the game at Qualcomm Stadium, whether as a Chargers or Bills fan, consider bringing a toy and help make a child's Christmas day a little brighter.
Deborah Braconnier is a former athlete and medical professional. She is a freelance writer and Featured Contributor for the NFL and Olympics. Born in San Diego, she has followed the Chargers and the NFL since she was a child and can usually be found yelling at the television during football season. Follow her on Twitter at @fwcdeborah.
Note: This article was written by a Yahoo! contributor. Sign up here to start publishing your own sports content.