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Group of employees at Toys for Tots
• Jan 24, 2020

The U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots validates mission beyond front line

TD's Auburn, Maine Contact Center colleagues are used to the freezing New England temperatures and whipping winds in the first month of the year.

But this January has turned out to be a heartwarming time as the Auburn team tied for first place as top donors and earned a Certificate of Appreciation for Outstanding Support of U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots, Central Maine Detachment 810.

"TD's generosity means a lot to us," said Charlie Paul, Commandant of the 810. "The Toys for Tots program validates our mission, not just on front lines. Our job ensures the well-being of our country, family members, God and duty. We try to encompass everything we do that benefits this country. Taking care of our nation's kids is where it starts -- what it means to give back to our country."

The Central Maine organization gathers the donated toys and gifts and works with community organizations to distribute to those in need who often would not have gifts otherwise.

It was especially sweet as this was the first year that TD participated after a four-year hiatus. The popularity of the program among the contact center was clear, as more than five large boxes of toys were donated. It was restarted thanks to a lot of work by the two leads, TD's Mary Bunnell, an Executive Assistant and Kerri Champagne, a Day-to-Day Team Manager.

For Mary, it was important to restart the program because of her family connection to the Marines.

"My grandfather was a U.S. Marine, my son was a U.S. Marine," she said. "The sacrifice the military makes for everyone's freedom, don't take it for granted. So, when they give back to children, it's a heartfelt thing for me to help them give back."

Kerri believes that her colleagues' contributions to the Toys for Tots program had a special meaning.

"The U.S. Marines, they stand out big, more so for reaching out and helping the children," Kerri said. "It starts with our care and compassion. "It feels good to help, to help children that need it the most."

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Charlie, Mary and Kerri all share one hope for the holiday season in 2020, that they will be able to work again on the program for next year.

"The two ladies, their enthusiasm was infectious," Charlie said. "TD and the U.S. Marines Toys for Tots program really is a match made in heaven."

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