Milford Chronicle: Sen. Carper’s toy story has deep roots in Milford

U.S. Senator Tom Carper has worked for more than thirty years to bring back the “true meaning of Christmas” through his very own toy story.

He and his wife made their annual holiday trip to Milford Sunday afternoon to celebrate the season and collect toys for the Toys for Tots program run by the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve.

“We’ve been hosting the reception for over 30 years. It’s a source of great joy and we find it’s a great source of joy for the people that come and bring toys,” he said.

He added that the number of years spent collecting toys for the charity is not hard to remember.

“It was one minute after midnight 31 years ago that we were married,” Sen. Carper said of his marriage to wife Martha.

During his speech to the crowd gathered at Rookery North by invitation only, he advised that a successful relationship takes communication and compromise.

“That’s not only the secret to marriage, but it’s also the secret to a vibrant democracy,” he explained, tying his visit in with current events. “We are a nation divided. We have been a nation divided before… If we can get through the first 200 years, we can get through this.”

Events celebrating holidays and charities are great ways, he hopes, to help reunite the community and nation.

Toys collected during the event and another reception which was held Friday, Dec. 9 at the University of Delaware’s Arsht Hall in Wilmington will be sent to a warehouse in Dover to prepare for Christmas.

Ralph Willis, a volunteer with Toys for Tots, said the toys will be separated by age and gender to make the gift-giving process easier. Families who have already been approved by the program will be able to visit the warehouse to pick up pre-labeled packaged filled with unwrapped gifts to give their children.

“We want the parents to feel active in the process,” volunteer Bill Yonker said.

Nearly 580 bags of gifts have already been put together, with another 500 or more to go, according to Mr. Willis.

Smaller gifts will be put into “stocking-stuffer” bags, including items like crayons and coloring books.

“We find that sometimes we forget the true meaning of Christmas,” Senator Carper said. “This brightens our day and theirs. In the joy of others, we find our own. Toys for Tots is living proof of that. We provide a lot of joy for kids and a little for us, too.”