DETROIT – Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores has partnered with the U.S. Marines and volunteers of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program to help make the holidays a whole lot brighter for families this holiday season.
More than 700 families lined up outside of Eastern Market to collect toys for more than 1,800 families.
“All children deserve a chance to smile and feel the joy of the holidays at this special time,” said Tom Gores to NBA.com. “We launched this effort 15 years ago to spread happiness to kids and families in Michigan during the holiday season. Inspiring kids, giving them hope, and the excitement it brings is so important. We are honored to partner with these incredible organizations and support the work they are doing for young people in our communities.”
Children ages three and under received tricycles with helmets. Kids ages four to seven received fully assembled bicycles with helmets. The youth ages eight to 10 received drones, and 11 to 13-year-olds received tablets.
Sweetie Young said they were sharing stories while waiting to collect toys for her daughter.
“We shared stories of loss, hardship, and heartbreak. Each family who was here today needed a boost,” said Young. “I’ve been having it kind of rough, but I do appreciate this Toys for Tots auto Marines that does such a great job, and I’m very thankful.”
Marines Toys for Tots Detroit Coordinator Sergeant Albian Meshaj said that parents, mothers, fathers, and grandparents were there to pick up toys for Christmas.
“I mean, we were making someone’s Christmas, and that’s just, it’s hard to put into words, you know how impactful that is?” said Meshaj.
“Oh my gosh, they are the most wonderful people you will ever want to meet,” said representative for the Gores family, Duncan Murdock. “Here and in Flint, where Tom was raised is 100% genuine, and they want to make sure that they make a difference in this region.”
Pistons legend and team community ambassador Earl “The Twirl,” Cureton said the event gave over 135,000 toys over the last 15 years. “We’ll give up close to 10,000 toys again today, and it’s just an exciting day.”
Although the Gores like to keep a low profile, Pistons owner Tom Gores and wife Holly are responsible for every toy, game, gadget, and bike donated. The impact of Tuesday’s event could be seen on the parents’ faces. This specific event is a family favorite because they can instantly bring a smile to those in need, especially in their community, said Holly Gores brother.