ROBERTSDALE, Alabama — Members of the Marine Corps League Detachment 1370 of Gulf Shores were on hand Wednesday, Dec. 11 at Robertsdale High School to receive nearly 3,500 toys for the Marine Corps annual Toys for Tots program.
Members of the Robertsdale High School Naval Junior ROTC and the Robertsdale High School Golden Bear marching band led the charge with several other groups contributing, including the National Honor Society and Key Club, said Petty Officer Edward “Theo” Theodoro, Naval science instructor at RHS.
“This is always a community wide effort and every year our students and our community strive to top themselves with donations,” said RHS Principal Joe Sharp. “I’m proud of our students and our community for the efforts they have put in for this worthy cause.”
This year’s donation is nearly double that of last year’s, making Robertsdale High the single-largest Toys for Tots donor in Detachment 1370, surpassing the combined efforts of the Robertsdale, Foley and Gulf Shores Walmart locations, said Jenniene Heath, Toys for Tots assistant coordinator for South Baldwin County.
This year’s donation included 1,591 toys donated from the RHS Golden Bear Marching Band. Assistant Band Director Bryant Ramey challenged his students that he would shave his head if they surpassed 1,500 donations.
A head-shaving event will be held after the first of the year in the gym at RHS. Tickets will be sold for the event, Theodoro said, with proceeds going to buy more toys for next year’s program.
Marines from NAS Pensacola were also on hand during the annual Robertsdale Honeybee Festival on Saturday, Dec. 7, helping collect more than 200 toys for the program. Marines from the Spanish Fort Recruiting Station also brought in toys on Wednesday, adding to the RHS total of 3,356 toys.
This year, Gulf Shores High School joined RHS as a drop-off location for toys.
Theodoro said, as a major contributor to the program over the years, Toys for Tots this year allowed the RHS special needs group to choose toys for its annual Christmas giving.