Toys for Tots Drive Returns to Del Mar This Sunday

November 19, 2022

Benoit Photo

DMTC Press Release

DEL MAR, Calif.— Del Mar again will host the U.S. Marine Corps-backed charity “Toys for Tots” this weekend with anyone who brings a new, unwrapped toy to the track receiving free admission Sunday.

The nationally famous program, which distributes toys to underprivileged children at Christmas time, has found a San Diego home at Del Mar. Previously, it was conducted by the San Diego Chargers football team, but when they left town in 2017 Del Mar – its fans, personnel and horsemen – stepped in and stepped up to make the event even bigger and better. In 2021 at Del Mar, the Marines collected a record 3,683 toys and $42,929 in cash and checks for “Tots.”

The hometown Marines – many of whom will be onsite in their sharp dress blue uniforms – along with Navy sailors will be manning collection barrels at track gates and be ready to accept unwrapped toys or cash/check donations.

Del Mar’s “Tots” receives a special boost when hundreds of bikers and muscle car drivers – many of them ex-Marines — will come roaring into the Del Mar Fairgrounds Sunday as part of the program. Leading the “ride” will be members of the El Cajon Harley Owners (HOG), which is sponsored by El Cajon-Harley-Davidson. They’ll set up shop at the track’s Hacienda Lounge, Corona Beach House and 17 Hands.

The biker/car groups will conduct special gift drawings throughout the afternoon with 100% of the proceeds earmarked for the Marines and their local “Tots” program.

The 1st Marine Division band also will come on board Sunday for renditions of the National Anthem and “God Bless America.” A “Toys for Tots” check presentation ceremony will take place in the winner’s circle following the 5th Race.

The Marine Corps is justly proud of “Toys for Tots,” which it calls its premier community action program and America’s most popular children’s Christmas charity. Their records indicate that currently they collect an average of 18 million toys for seven million children-in-need annually throughout 800 communities in the United States and U.S. Territories. Since its inception in 1947, they estimate they have assisted more than 265 million children by providing toys and hope at a special time of the year.

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