When the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Marine Corps Reserve and Buccaneer fans first got together to give local kids a brighter holiday season, cornerback Corey Ivy was only nine months old. Dexter Jackson wasn't yet five months into the world. Ronde Barber was two. Michael Clayton wouldn't even be a gleam in his parents' eyes for five more years.
Some things never change. Thank goodness for that.
On Sunday, the Buccaneers, the Marine Corps Reserve and Pewter Partner CVS will team up to conduct the 28th annual Toys for Tots drive at a Tampa Bay game. Each year, Buccaneer fans donate thousands and thousands of toys to be distributed to underprivileged children; this year will surely be no different.
If you are attending the Buccaneers game against the New Orleans Saints on Sunday, December 19, the team and its partners urge you an unwrapped toy among the items you pack for the day's events. The toys can be donated at any of the stadium's gates as you enter; the gates will open at 2:00 p.m. for the 4:05 p.m. kickoff.
As always, the Marine Corps and representatives from CVS 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.
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 each of the past three 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 last year, 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.