Sen. Mike Bernskoetter’s Legislative Column for the Week of Oct. 28, 2019

Kicking Off the Season of Giving

There’s magic on Christmas morning, especially as a kid. You get up early, you wake your parents up and you open presents that suddenly appeared under the Christmas tree. You never questioned how the toys got under there, or how they turned out to be exactly what you wanted that year. The answer was all too obvious: Santa Claus had brought them the night before, and there was no other way around it. After all, there really is magic on Christmas morning, joy and wonder too.

I’m sure many of us have fond memories of Christmas morning, just like that one. But I’m sure we also know some stories that are very different. For some children, Christmas doesn’t share that same sort of wonder and excitement. For some less fortunate among us, it may be in stark contrast to the rosy images of Christmas we often think of. There may be some years when it’s a surprise St. Nick shows up at all. But no matter the circumstances, no child should be denied the magic of Christmas.

Since 1947, Toys for Tots has been working to ensure no child goes without during the holiday season. Spurred by his wife to donate a few handcrafted toys to children in need, Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks couldn’t find an organization to help, so he started one of his own. Major Hendricks and other marines in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys that first year. The program grew over the years and became a nationwide program. Today, the Marine Toys for Tots Program distributes an average of 18 million toys to 7 million less fortunate children all across the country annually. In 2018, Toys for Tots distributed 3,844 toys and supported 1,727 children right here in Cole County.

On Oct. 31, the Cole County branch of Toys for Tots kicked off their toy campaign for 2019 with an all-day series of events. The organization will be collecting new, unwrapped toys throughout November and December to help children experience the joy and the magic of Christmas. There’s a lot of work to be done between now and Christmas, and I was happy to lend my support to the kick-off event this week. I look forward to seeing the good work that comes out of this year’s campaign. We know the magic of Christmas comes not from the gift themselves, but from giving. And if that giving happens to put a smile on the face of a child in need, well, that’s just all the better.

Please feel free to contact my office at (573) 751-2076. For information about my committee assignments or sponsored legislation, please visit my official Missouri Senate website at