The Toys for Tots drive annually brings in more than 100,000 toys for underprivileged children
If the parking lots at Bay area malls on Friday were any indication, the holiday shopping period has begun in earnest.
And not a moment too soon for the Marine Corps Reserve's 29th annual Toys for Tots drive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The Glazer Family Foundation will welcome the Corps to Raymond James Stadium this Sunday for the continuation of that outstanding tradition.
The Marines-Bucs game day drive is usually held in December. However, after the Chicago game the Bucs will play three straight road games and not return home to Raymond James until December 24.
The Corps and the Buccaneers have teamed up each season since 1977 to help bring toys to underprivileged children during the holiday season. This year's drive will be held prior to Sunday's game against the Chicago Bears. Fans are encouraged to bring a new, unwrapped toy with them to the game; the toys may be dropped off at any gate or club entrance.
The gates for Sunday's game will open at 11:00 a.m. for the 1:00 p.m. kickoff.
As always, the Marine Corps will be instrumental in the effort to gather the toys and deliver them to collection centers, where they will then be distributed to kids in need. Each year, more than 100,000 toys are donated around the Bay area through various Toys for Tots drives. A good number of those toys are brought in by Buc fans during the annual drive at the stadium.
If the concept of donating a toy for an underprivileged child is easy to embrace and hard to remember, allow us to provide some added encouragement to the superstitious types.
In three of the past four seasons, the Buccaneer game that included the Toys for Tots drive resulted in a Tampa Bay victory. In 2001, the Bucs pulled out a last-second win over Detroit, 15-12. In 2002, the Falcons felt the brunt of the Bucs' donation-fueled effort, as Tampa Bay prevailed, 34-10. And in 2003, the Houston Texans left with a 16-3 loss, Buccaneer fans left with smiles on their faces and the Marines left with thousands of toys to hand out. Last year's loss to New Orleans broke the streak, so it's time to start a new one.