ODNI, Toys for Tots program support local community
December 8, 2020
By Victoria Piccoli, ODNI Office of Strategic Communications
Every December for the past 15 years, multiple semi-trucks, filled to the brim with donations of new toys, leave the Office of the Director of National Intelligence in McLean, Virginia, and make their way into the arms of children across Northern Virginia as a part of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program.
This year, ODNI officers took their support for the Toys for Tots program one step further and volunteered in-person.
ODNI officers helped Marine Corps Reservists from four different site support units in the Northern Virginia by sorting toys at a local distribution center on Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., Dec. 5.
“The outreach and the volunteers that want to help are amazing,” said United States Marine Corps Maj. Brad Pomy, National Toys for Tots Program Coordinator, Office of Marine Forces Reserve. “This program gives everyone the opportunity to elevate their local community during the holiday season.”
In 2019, the donations from the Central Intelligence Agency and ODNI were the largest organizational donations received by the Toys for Tots program that year, said Pomy.
“I have been donating and volunteering to work certain Toys for Tots events for the past decade,” said Brianna S., an analyst at the National Counterterrorism Center. “I love being able to play a small role in having a positive impact on children in America.”
Although keeping the nation safe is what the Intelligence Community is known for, volunteering close to home with Toys for Tots is one-way ODNI employees can give back to the local community.
“Community service has always had a special place in my heart,” said Brianna S. “This event gave me the chance to give something back and meet other ODNI officers outside of the office while still working toward a common goal.”
The Toys for Tots program has over 800 campaigns in all 50 states including Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico and in 2019, 18.5 million toys were collected and given to 7.3 million children.
“The impact a toy can have is immense,” said Pomy. “Our mission is to collect and distribute new toys as Christmas gifts to those children less fortunate in our community.”
Due to the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, many children may not receive a gift this year, said Brianna S.
“[Toys for Tots] allows so many less fortunate children to have a piece of magic during the holidays, which is probably needed even more during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Brianna S.
Local donations and support from organizations like ODNI enable the Toys for Tots program to fulfill their mission and make this time of year very special for a child, even in a global pandemic.
“Giving a gift to a child can be a moment of joy and instill a larger sense of hope in a child and within their community,” said Pomy.
The gifts that were collected at the Toys for Tots drive will be delivered to families in the area by December 25, 2020.
Regardless of the irregularities of this holiday season, one thing has stayed the same – ODNI’s commitment to helping out the local community.