January 11, 2021
On Thursday, January 7, U.S. Embassy Tallinn delivered holiday gifts for twenty children at Sillamäe Open Children’s Center “Domashnii Uyut” (Home Coziness). This is the twelfth year the Embassy has coordinated the holiday gift donation at Sillamäe Open Children’s Center, however, cooperation with the center has been going on since 2007.
The toy drive, based on the Toys for Tots program in the United States, is an annual charity initiative co-organized by Embassy employees along with the Embassy’s U.S. Marine Corps Detachment. The gifts were purchased by Embassy staff and families at their own expense.
“Communities like Sillamäe are wonderful partners and hosts to our mission as we work to strengthen the ties between the United States and Estonia. The staff of the U.S. Embassy in Tallinn are proud to continue this holiday tradition,” Embassy Spokesperson Mark Naylor said.
This year, due to the COVID-19 restrictions, the Children’s Center and Embassy did not hold the traditional ceremony for the gift donation. Nevertheless, all twenty gifts will be delivered to each child individually, in accordance with COVID-19 regulations, by the center Director Vadim Orlov.
“In this difficult time, real friends stand by our side. It is important for the children to know that they have not been forgotten. We thank the staff of U.S. Embassy in Tallinn for their donations. When we are united, we can overcome all difficulties,” Orlov said. According to Orlov, as a special thank-you, the children of the center have prepared hand-made angel-shaped ornaments for each of the Embassy gift givers.
The Embassy toy drive is modeled after the Toys for Tots program which was founded in 1947 by U.S. Marine Reservist Major Bill Hendricks and other reserve Marines in Los Angeles. After a successful launch, the program was turned to nation-wide U.S. charity campaign in 1948. Since then, the Toys for Tots program has organized charity events around Christmas with the goal of bringing hope, joy and warmth to children in need around the holiday season. The U.S. Marine Corps continues its fine tradition of participation in these campaigns which have brought joy to millions of children.
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U.S. Embassy Tallinn