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Tournaments Aug 25, 2012

U.S. Marines support PWSI’s Toys for Tots

By Roger Gonzalez

This weekend at Prince William Soccer, Inc.’s Toys for Tots Tournament, fans, parents and players have come for one big reason: to pass some wonderful time watching and playing the world’s game. But while many may be concerned with standings, goals and assists, there is a much bigger battle going on that always transcends them, a battle to help those in need. Now in its 17th edition, the Toys for Tots Tournament’s goal, as the name suggests, is to provide toys for those that may not have any.

“We try to give back,” PWSI executive director Mike Yeatts told prior to this year’s event.

Working through the National Capital Toys for Tots campaign helps reach that goal.

Having already donated many thousands of presents since its inception nearly two decades ago, the the tournament’s toy bins filled up quickly on Saturday afternoon. United States Marines roamed the fields to help out, filling up with joy with each toy added.

“The Marine Corps got involved because [PWSI] decided to contribute toys to the Toys for Tots program, which is a program run by the Marine Corps Reserve,” said Lt. Col Adam Greer. “While most of the campaigns don’t kick off until later [in the year], towards Christmas, we decided we would send a couple people out to put a face and a uniform behind our program for Toys for Tots.”

The response has been great.

“I think it has been overwhelming,” Greer said. “A lot of the boxes are full already. A lot of parents have come up and still asked if they could bring a toy tomorrow, and of course they can. The club eventually will collect all of these toys and will hold on to them until November and they’ll give them to the local reserve Marine Corps unit and the Marines in those units will distribute those toys to needy kids throughout the region.”

It’s been a long, but rewarding process, one that makes the holiday season that much more special for kids who aren’t as well off.

“The Marine Corps has been in this Toys for Tots program for over 50 years,” Greer said. “There are a lot of needy kids around that aren’t as fortunate as others.

“In the Marine Corps, we try to breed leaders and Marines that are more than just being proficient at war fighting. We also want to provide good examples and quality citizens back to the communities, and serve communities.”

Now, while hard at work stressing the importance of giving and protecting our nation’s freedom, the Marines have taken a little bit of time to enjoy themselves during this fun-filled weekend.

“We are having a good time,” said Greer with a massive smile. “It’s fun watching the kids. They all look like they are enjoying themselves, so it’s fun for us to be here.”

Have you done your part? Be sure to bring a toy on Sunday and help a little child, brighten their holiday season or click here to learn more.

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