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3 Tips for Small and Mid-sized Businesses to Take Advantage of Rebounding Supply Chain

(NewsUSA) - Operating from the epicenter of commerce, small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) form the core of the global economy—and while fears of recession continue to loom, many of these enterprises remain optimistic. In fact, 57% of SMBs expect revenue to grow and 58% plan to expand their workforce in the next 12 months according to recent WSJ/Vistage Small Business CEO Confidence Index reporting. However, despite this rise in confidence and rebounding economic circumstances, some businesses continue to remain operationally paralyzed into a state of “do no harm” rather than focusing on new avenues for growth. This is particularly true for SMBs hesitant to make changes within global imports and exports given the turmoil supply chains experienced in recent years.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Department of Commerce, SMBs accounted for $413 billion of the known U.S. export value and $651 billion of the known U.S. import value. Unfortunately, these SMBs are too often relegated to a secondary priority amidst larger, well-established entities that enjoy high-touch services by multinational shipping companies.

The reality is shipping and logistics are the lifeblood of international trade, but it is fraught with challenges ranging from price fluctuations, language barriers, customs, regulations, and more that even the most seasoned and sophisticated stewards of global shipping within companies find complex, confusing, and cumbersome. Fortunately, resources like digital-first freight forwarders are forging a new frontier for SMBs by changing the landscape and democratizing international shipping.

“With expanding markets, tightening margins, and many supply chain restrictions and regulations, freight forwarding can make or break a dynamic enterprise in today’s world,” said Carmit Glik, CEO and Co-founding Member of Ship4wd, a leading global digital freight forwarding solution for SMBs. “No matter how large or small, every single international shipment deserves an advocate, and a user-friendly platform can help SMBs take all the guesswork out of door-to-door, and port-to-port journeys.”

As recent supply chain challenges rebound to favor businesses once again, Glik shares three ways companies can leverage freight forwarding to reenact growth mode strategies that have otherwise been paused by many enterprises out of an abundance of caution.

Protect Operational Cash Flow through the Right Partnership in Shipping & Logistics Processes

Recent reports indicate only 26% of Main Street businesses have access to enough funding to stay open for more than 60 days in the event of a cash flow shortfall, and 17% have no access to funding at all, according to a “Main Street Health Q1 2023” study from PYMNTS and Enigma. Given these cash flow risks, it’s critical for small and medium-sized businesses to employ tactics to protect their financial position, especially as they work to capitalize on the current global trade environment. This is where a strategic freight forwarding partnership can help by assessing various factors to strengthen a business’ financial position such as flexible payment structure, inventory financing, guaranteed shipping allocation, and much more.

Consider What International Shipping Options Are Right for Your Business

While air freight is frequently considered faster and more reliable than ocean freight, it typically transports smaller volumes and high-cost goods, coming with exponentially higher costs. For larger shipments, ocean freight may be the most financially responsible avenue. Recognizing this, there are two primary ways businesses can ship across international waters—LCL (Less-than-Container Load) and FCL (Full-Container-Load). LCL shipping can be a more affordable option for SMBs shipping lower volumes, but getting the cargo from point A to point B may take longer due to additional handling and documentation, as well as increased loading and unloading times, since there are multiple shippers and touchpoints involved in a shared shipment. Inversely, FCL is an efficient and cost-effective option for businesses with enough cargo to fill an entire container. However, while more merchandise can be shipped with FCL for less, this cost benefit must be weighed against how fast product sell-through is, as shipping savings have to be balanced against warehousing and storage costs. Similar to deciding between LCL and FCL, SMBs also should examine whether they need door-to-door or port-to-port shipping support based on different business needs. For example, experienced shippers may only need help securing goods from a port of origin to a point of destination, while those newer to international shipping may benefit from ensuring merchandise is picked up at the door of a manufacturer and delivered directly to a SMB’s door.

Diversify Your Supply Chains

According to the New York Federal Reserve, The Global Supply Chain Pressure Index (GSCPI) continues to drop month-over-month, establishing favorable market conditions for companies seeking to take advantage of decreased global freight and container rates, lessened port congestion, and shortened shipment delivery times. However, there is a key lesson learned by the world’s largest corporations that small and medium-sized businesses should model against. That lesson is reliance on single supply streams limit business resiliency. Exemplifying this risk are issues like the factory shutdowns and labor challenges China has continued experiencing, sending shockwaves through the supply chain for companies relying on inventory manufactured there. One tactic for SMBs to consider is investing in the diversification of their supply chain by securing additional or alternate suppliers that can serve as secondary sources for goods, providing more redundancy to minimize risk and increase flexibility and agility.

Recognizing global shipping and logistics misunderstandings continue to persist, and a resurgence of international issues could impact the supply chain at any point, shifting away from a “business as usual mentality” will mandate exploring new approaches. Making changes within global import and exports with the help of a reliable freight forwarder may just be the path to resilience SMBs need today. After all, as Glik puts it, while shipping and logistics may not be an SMB’s core business, it is core to their business. 

Four Reasons Why Creating Accessible Generosity Programs is Essential for Communities and Brands

(NewsUSA) - Many of us have every intention of making a positive and lasting impact on our community, but it can be overwhelming knowing how to get started or where the biggest need is. And busy days filled with professional and personal commitments can make giving back feel even more out of reach. Fortunately, many corporate leaders have an opportunity to help fill this gap – and it’s important that they do. 

Businesses are realizing the importance society places on giving back and have begun to elevate their commitments to develop initiatives that bolster community impact among their customer bases. And as people strive to find fulfillment in their lives and pursue ways to give back in meaningful ways, providing volunteer and generosity programs has become crucial in the corporate world.

Demonstrating the power of providing generosity programs, Thrivent, a Fortune 500 financial services organization, recently celebrated reaching the milestones of 1 million client-led volunteer teams and $1 billion raised for communities nationwide through its Thrivent Action Teams program. This program is helping reimagine the future of generosity and volunteering in partnership with Thrivent’s clients by harnessing the power of digital tools and community action. Through this effort, Thrivent has helped clients make a difference by placing resources and seed money directly in their hands so they can create the impact they want to see in their community. Since its debut in 2014, 9.6 million volunteers have given 93 million hours of their time to lead and support a generosity team—directly benefiting the causes and programs most important to them and their local communities.

“Companies that want to thrive both now and in the future, should recognize that their clients and stakeholders are eager to make a difference and want businesses to reflect these same values,” said Carolyn Sakstrup, chief growth and generosity officer at Thrivent. “For more than 120 years, Thrivent has instilled a deep sense of purpose throughout our organization so our clients and employees can pursue their passions and lead lives of meaning and gratitude. We believe in the idea of serving a higher purpose and we’re proud of our long legacy of mobilizing people to come together and take care of their community.”

Here are four reasons why companies should create accessible and affordable pathways for people to give back and help them engage in their communities.

  1. Addresses the Needs of the Community

Accessible philanthropic and volunteer initiatives provide new opportunities for community members to partake, regardless of their financial position. This means that people can proactively participate in a program, such as a fundraiser or food drive, and make a difference without facing a financial burden.

  1. Enhances Brand Purpose and Reputation

By making philanthropy programs available to their customers, companies demonstrate their commitment to the overall community’s well-being. This, in turn, attracts new customers who are more likely to support a brand that aligns with their values and enhances the company's reputation as a purposeful brand. These activities help to build relationships with the community and strengthen corporate reputation.

  1. Boosts Customer Engagement

People are increasingly looking to give their business to companies that reflect their values. By offering hands-on community engagement programs, people are more likely to feel a sense of purpose and pride when they collaborate with a company that is making a positive impact. This can lead to increased loyalty and engagement. The key is to ensure that these programs are turnkey for them to be effective as an ongoing, repeatable effort.

  1. Leads to Innovation and Creativity

When companies engage with their customers and community, they gain a deeper understanding of the needs and challenges faced by those they serve. This understanding can lead to the development of new and innovative products and services that address these needs, which can ultimately lead to business growth and bigger impactful.

In today’s socially conscious world, community engagement has become an important tool for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to making a difference. As brand purpose takes on even greater importance, it’s critical to build trust and credibility with customers and stakeholders. As Thrivent’s recent milestone demonstrated, when companies engage with and invest in the community in meaningful ways, they help humanity thrive.

Learn more at

Marine Toys for Tots is a Year-Round Force for Good

(NewsUSA) - Marine Toys for Tots, which is traditionally known as a Christmastime charity, has evolved into a year-round force for good. The year-round assistance and emotional relief that the organization provides extends beyond the holiday season, because needs aren’t seasonal, and neither is Toys for Tots.

The Program’s year-round distributions reassure families, who face adversity and exceptional circumstances throughout the year, that Marine Toys for Tots is committed to delivering messages of hope, restoring and building self-esteem, and inspiring youngsters to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens. The Program takes great pride in spreading hope around our Nation and being a force for good in order to promote a brighter tomorrow, especially during uncertain times.

In East Palestine, Ohio, children and families have recently faced devastating hardships due to the train derailment that left the river and air contaminated with toxic chemicals. East Palestine Social Concern, a local organization that assists families with rent and utilities, provided support to the impacted families, while Toys for Tots delivered emotional relief through the gift of toys and books to over 400 children in the local area. 

“This is so exciting because the kids really have been overlooked through this whole process. They haven’t had a voice, their fears and anxiety a lot of times are portrayed through what their parents are feeling, and they’re not really getting heard,” said a local volunteer. “And so, it was awesome that [Toys for Tots was] willing to give these [toys] away now and not make ‘em wait for Christmas. This is just fantastic. I love seeing the kids excited and the families.”

During their seventy-fifth anniversary last year, Marine Toys for Tots distributed more 24 million toys to nearly ten million less fortunate children, provided more than 6.3 million books to children in need through their Literacy Program and supported over 220,000 Native American children living on remote Reservations through their Native American Program. The Program also established their newest initiative to support children living in foster care and provided toys, books, games, and school supplies to over 447,000 children living in the Foster Care system.

Looking ahead to 2023, Marine Toys for Tots will continue to be the force for good that will provide significant comfort and relief to families who face hardships throughout the year. This spring and summer, Toys for Tots has committed to providing 100 truckloads of toys to communities throughout the U.S. and one million books to Title I funded schools. These existing programs and initiatives will bring emotional relief and reassurance in times of tremendous loss to children across the Nation – Toys for Tots is committed to making their days ahead a little brighter.

Visit to support the year-round Programs and be part of the force for good!

Ready to Volunteer…Now What? Here's How You Can Give Back

(NewsUSA) - Volunteering is a great way to help others and give back to our communities—and it’s good for our mental and physical health. People who volunteer for as little as two hours a week may experience improved mental, emotional and physical health—benefits that many older volunteers are gaining because, on average, they volunteer almost twice as much as people in other age groups.

Because volunteers can often set their own hours, volunteering doesn't have to mean a big-time commitment. So, decide what you're interested in—and spend time doing something that is meaningful to you! Whether you participate in a volunteer transportation program, make calls to someone who may be lonely, read to children at a local school or participate in a community day of service, you can decide what you want to do! The possibilities for volunteering are endless!

There’s no better time than now to explore the volunteer opportunities available in your community. Chances are, you’ll be in good company as you reconnect with old friends or make new ones.

Area Agencies on Aging, Title VI Native American Aging Programs and other organizations provide a variety of services for older adults and can connect older adults to volunteer opportunities. Do you want to volunteer but don’t know where to start? Through its website,, and national Call Center at 1-(800)-677-1116, the Eldercare Locator can inform and connect older adults to local or virtual volunteer opportunities.

Did you know?

An Eldercare Locator publication, Ready to Volunteer…Now What? A Guide on Giving Back for Older Adults, that can help older adults learn about the benefits of volunteering and how to find a volunteer opportunity. Consider reading this publication to help ensure that you learn how to get connected to in-person and virtual volunteer opportunities.

Helping our Nation’s Homeless Care for Their Pets

(NewsUSA) - People can become homeless at any time and for any reason, including people with pets. These individuals often face additional challenges of food and health care for their pets, and some are turned away from possible shelters or rent situations because pets are not allowed.

 “The animal-human bond is especially strong for people experiencing homelessness because those animals are with their people 24/7,” explains Genevieve Frederick, who founded the nonprofit organization Feeding Pets of the Homeless after observing the love between a homeless man and his dog on a street in New York City.

Feeding Pets of the Homeless believes in the healing power of companion pets and of the human/animal bond, which is especially important in the lives of many of the homeless. Homeless people find solace, protection and companionship through their pets, but they care for these animals on limited resources, often at the expense of their own needs. The mission of Feeding Pets of the Homeless is to provide food and basic emergency veterinary services for these animals, to help relieve some of the anxiety and anguish of their homeless companions. 

One of the organization’s success stories is Lucy, a Belgian Malinois living with a homeless armed services veteran in California. Lucy fell into a gopher hole while running through a park, and fractured several small bones in her leg. Her veteran companion learned about Feeding Pets of the Homeless, and Lucy was able to receive care through a partnership with a local animal hospital. Feeding Pets of the Homeless was able to provide financial assistance in the amount of $817 for the initial visit and diagnostics, and to pay for bandage changes once a week for seven weeks at $159 each. 

In 2021, Feeding Pets of the Homeless provided assistance to 1,263 homeless individuals and 1,379 pets, an increase of more than 50% since 2020. 

Feeding Pets of the Homeless also provides pet food and basic supplies to the homeless through donation sites that work with homeless shelters. 
The bond between pets and people doesn’t depend on a roof and a yard. Feeding Pets of the Homeless helps keep people experiencing homelessness and the pets they love together and cared for.

Feeding Pets of the Homeless does not received government subsidies and relies on donations to further their mission. Visit to learn more. 

La Oficina del Defensor de Inmigrantes Detenidos ofrece un nuevo enfoque de supervisión en los centros de detención de EE. UU.

(NewsUSA) - La Oficina del Defensor de Inmigrantes Detenidos (OIDO) es un recurso para defensores, representantes legales y familiares de personas detenidas para presentar quejas sobre mala conducta o malas condiciones de vida en la detención y custodia de inmigrantes de EE. UU.

El formulario de admisión de la Oficina, Formulario DHS 405, permite que las personas que han sido detenidas, o sus representantes, presenten reclamaciones confidenciales sobre el trato y las condiciones en los centros de detención de inmigrantes. Esto incluye cuestiones como la mala conducta del personal, tratamiento médico inadecuado, baños o áreas de descanso en mal estado, falta de acceso a un abogado o problemas de seguridad que podrían causar daño a los detenidos.

Creada por el Congreso en 2019, OIDO es una oficina independiente dentro del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional (DHS) de los EE. UU., separada del Servicio de Inmigración y Control de Aduanas (ICE) y la Protección de Aduanas y Fronteras (CBP). La Oficina está a cargo de investigar las quejas sobre el trato y las condiciones en los centros de detención de los EE. UU. que alojan a las personas bajo custodia federal de inmigración. OIDO también brinda supervisión para garantizar que los centros de detención cumplan con la ley y los estándares para la detención de inmigrantes.

“Nuestra misión consiste en evaluar las quejas individuales, realizar inspecciones anunciadas y no anunciadas, revisar los contratos de detención y realizar estudios y encuestas sobre las tendencias en la detención de inmigrantes para informar al Secretario del DHS, ICE, CBP y el Congreso”, señaló David, el Defensor del Pueblo interino de Inmigrantes Detenidos, David Gersten. “Nuestro singular rol distingue a OIDO como un conducto importante y objetivo de información sobre la detención de inmigrantes para los legisladores y el público”.

Un objetivo clave para OIDO es la accesibilidad, y esto incluye traducir la información y los recursos, incluidos los formularios de quejas, a varios idiomas y hacer que esos recursos estén fácilmente disponibles para los detenidos en los centros y para el público en Internet.

OIDO ha establecido una presencia persistente dentro de los entornos de detención y custodia. Los administradores de casos y los investigadores de supervisión de detención que entienden los asuntos de detención y pueden recomendar soluciones a las quejas sobre el trato de los detenidos y las condiciones de las instalaciones visitan las instalaciones de detención con regularidad. Al tener esta supervisión independiente constantemente presente en los centros de ICE y CBP, OIDO puede ser proactivo y oportuno para ayudar a resolver las cuestiones de detención.

“El personal de OIDO está capacitado y encarna la pasión por la inmigración, el cuidado y la custodia en detención civil y la protección de los derechos de las personas en detención migratoria”, señaló Gersten. “Estamos comprometidos a servir como un recurso confiable y neutral para la comunidad de detenidos y sus defensores mientras trabajamos conjuntamente para crear un sistema de detención de inmigrantes más seguro y humano”.

OIDO ha completado numerosas observaciones e inspecciones de sitios y centros de detención en los EE. UU., fortaleciendo sus capacidades y perspectiva de campo, difundiendo la conciencia pública sobre su propósito y sus actividades, y construyendo una red cooperativa de partes interesadas.

Si bien el cargo de OIDO es amplio, no tiene la autoridad para manejar asuntos relacionados con la liberación, la supervisión comunitaria, las alternativas a la detención, el estado migratorio o las solicitudes de asilo. Los resultados de una inspección de OIDO no afectan el estado del caso de inmigración de un detenido, ya sea positiva o negativamente.

El proceso de quejas de OIDO tampoco pretende sustituir o reemplazar los procesos de quejas existentes que se utilizan en los centros de detención; más bien, se considera una línea adicional de apoyo para hacer avanzar una queja hacia la resolución y está diseñado para complementar las funciones de supervisión existentes dentro del DHS. 

Si bien los funcionarios de OIDO cumplen su función de independencia y neutralidad, también reconocen los beneficios de colaborar con ICE y CBP para garantizar que sus recomendaciones para mejorar las condiciones de los centros de detención se implementen según lo previsto por el Congreso. OIDO tiene miembros del equipo que trabajan con el Centro de Admisión Conjunta de CBP para de revisar las quejas presentadas con respecto a esa agencia con el fin de garantizar la capacidad de respuesta y la imparcialidad. OIDO también coordina con la Oficina de Derechos Civiles y Libertades Civiles del DHS, la Oficina del Inspector General y el componente de las Oficinas de Responsabilidad Profesional para facilitar el manejo adecuado de los asuntos dentro de sus respectivas áreas de responsabilidad.

Mirando hacia el futuro, la visión de OIDO es crear conciencia y mejorar su rol como una entidad accesible y receptiva que brinda reparación a las personas en detención de inmigración. Esto incluye construir y fortalecer las relaciones con las agencias componentes del DHS, así como con los socios externos, aprovechar la información y la experiencia para informar a los tomadores de decisiones y al público, contratar personal de supervisión adicional, y crear una cultura laboral basada en la confianza, la transparencia y el impacto.

“Nuestro objetivo para 2023 es construir sobre el crecimiento organizacional sustancial que experimentamos en 2022, mientras cumplimos nuestro rol como un organismo de control objetivo, independiente e intermediario para las quejas presentadas por los detenidos de inmigración”, expresó Gersten.

Para obtener más información sobre OIDO o presentar una queja, visite

Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman delivers new approach to oversight at U.S. detention facilities

(NewsUSA) - The Office of the Immigration Detention Ombudsman (OIDO) is a resource for advocates, legal representatives, and family members of detained individuals to file complaints about misconduct or poor living conditions in U.S. immigration detention and custody.

The Office’s intake form, DHS Form 405, enables individuals who have been detained---or their representatives---to submit confidential claims about treatment and conditions in immigration detention facilities. This includes issues such as staff misconduct, inadequate medical treatment, poorly maintained bathrooms or rest areas, lack of access to counsel, or safety issues that could result in harm to detainees.

Created by Congress in 2019, OIDO is an independent office within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS)—separate from Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The Office is charged with investigating complaints about treatment and conditions in U.S. detention facilities that hold individuals in federal immigration custody. OIDO also provides oversight to ensure facilities comply with the law and standards for immigration detention.

“Our mission involves assessing individual complaints, conducting announced and unannounced inspections, reviewing detention contracts, and carrying out studies and surveys on trends in immigration detention to report to the DHS Secretary, ICE, CBP, and Congress,” said acting Immigration Detention Ombudsman David Gersten. “Our unique role distinguishes OIDO as an important and objective conduit of information regarding immigration detention for policymakers and the public.”

A key objective for OIDO is accessibility, and this includes translating information and resources, including complaint forms, into multiple languages and making those resources readily available to detainees in facilities and the public online.

OIDO has established a persistent presence inside detention and custody settings. Case managers and detention oversight investigators who understand detention matters and can recommend solutions to complaints about detainee treatment and facility conditions regularly visit detention facilities. By having this independent oversight consistently present in ICE and CBP facilities, OIDO can be proactive and timely in helping to resolve detention issues.

“The staff of OIDO embody passion for and are trained in immigration, civil detention care and custody, and protecting the rights of individuals in immigration detention,” Gersten said. “We are committed to serving as a trusted and neutral resource for the community of detainees and their advocates as we collectively work to create a more safe and humane immigration detention system.”

OIDO has completed numerous observations and inspections of detention sites and facilities throughout the U.S., strengthening its capabilities and field perspective, spreading public awareness of its purpose and activities, and building a cooperative network of stakeholders.

While OIDO’s charge is broad, it does not have the authority to handle matters related to release, community supervision, alternatives to detention, immigration status, or claims for asylum. The results of an OIDO inspection do not affect the status of a detainee’s immigration case, either positively or negatively.

OIDO’s complaint process also is not meant to supersede or replace existing complaint processes used at detention facilities; rather, it is considered an additional line of support for advancing a complaint toward resolution and is designed to complement existing oversight functions within DHS.  

While OIDO officials fulfill their role of independence and neutrality, they also recognize the benefits of partnering with ICE and CBP to ensure its recommendations for improving detention facility conditions are implemented as Congress intended. OIDO has team members working with CBP’s Joint Intake Center to review complaints filed regarding that agency to ensure responsiveness and impartiality. OIDO also coordinates with the DHS Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, Office of Inspector General, and component Offices of Professional Responsibility to facilitate appropriate handling of matters within their respective areas of responsibility.

Looking forward, OIDO’s vision is to build awareness of and enhance its role as an accessible and responsive entity providing redress to individuals in immigration detention. This includes building and strengthening relationships with DHS component agencies as well as external partners, leveraging information and expertise to inform decision makers and the public, hiring additional oversight staff, and creating a workforce culture built on trust, transparency, and impact.

“Our goal for 2023 is to build on the substantial organizational growth we experienced in 2022, while fulfilling our role as an objective, independent watchdog and intermediary for complaints filed by immigration detainees,” Gersten said.

To learn more about OIDO or file a complaint, visit

With Marine Toys for Tots, Anyone Can Be Santa

(NewsUSA) - The mission of the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to bring hope and joy to children in need through the gift of a new toy, book, or game, at Christmastime and throughout the year.

Each year, the Program strives to reach more underprivileged children, and the success of the mission is made possible by the generosity of the American public. No matter how an individual, company, family, or organization donates, every supporter has a story, and, in their own way, everyone who contributes and supports Toys for Tots can be “Santa” to children in need.

One such Santa is Mr. Irwin Chu. For 20 years, Mr. Chu has been bringing joy and hope to impoverished children through his “Miles of Smiles Bike Drive,” which he created to honor the memory of his son, who was killed in a car accident at age 16.

“As a family tradition, each of us always gave a bike and helmet to the ExxonMobil toy drive in Maryland,” said Mr. Chu. After his son’s death, the family honored his memory by continuing the tradition of donating bikes and helmets to children in need. As the years passed, friends and other community members joined in, and soon, Mr. Chu was donating over 1,000 bikes a year. With the influx of donations, the storage space became even more limited at ExxonMobil, so Mr. Chu reached out to the local Toys for Tots campaign and asked if the Marines on base could assist with the assembly—of course, the Marines stepped up! Throughout the past 20 years, the bike donation has continued to grow, and numerous volunteers have gathered at the Marine Corps base to be “Secret Santas” to assemble bikes and helmets for distribution to less fortunate children.

The support from the community members, individuals like Mr. Chu, as well as donors across the Nation, have a far-reaching and lifelong impacts on the underprivileged children in their local area—and the positive memories can have a rippling effect on their future choices in life. Just like the impact that one donor’s gift had on a young girl, who now serves in the United States Marine Corps— the “Secret Santa” not only gifted this young girl with a toy, but also instilled hope for a brighter future.

Major Mariela Pena, a United States Marine assigned to 1st MLG, I MEF, knows firsthand that anyone can be Santa. Maj. Pena was a recipient of Toys for Tots as an immigrant from Nicaragua in 1987 when she was nine years old. Maj Pena’s family was grateful to be together in San Jose, California, for their first Christmas in the United States, but resources were scarce, and the family had decided to conserve funds and forego Christmas gifts.

A few days before Christmas, Maj Pena and her family walked outside to see Marines in uniform stepping out of a five-ton truck, filled with toys. Maj Pena recalls, “We got the biggest Christmas I think we had ever experienced in our entire lives. I got a yellow bunny stuffed animal that I also used as a pillow.”

Sometimes, it’s not just the physical gift of the toy that resonates with a child—receiving the stuffed animal meant much more than just a Christmas gift to Maj Pena in that moment. “I remember coming outside of the house and seeing the five-ton truck full of toys, and I [knew] that I was going to drive trucks in the Marine Corps, forever,” said Maj Pena. For 26 years, Maj Pena has been serving our country. The “Secret Santa” who donated the yellow bunny not only gave Maj Pena a gift at Christmas, but also gave her hope and inspiration to become a United States Marine.

Toys for Tots is fortunate to have “Secret Santas” across the Nation, and they are “Secret Santas” for a variety of reasons. From physically donating, to lending a hand during a toy distribution, the support that our donors and campaign volunteers give sends a message of hope for a brighter future. Because what may seem like a simple contribution of time or money can give a lifetime of hope and a security—that’s the magic that Santa brings to families and children in need across the country.

Give now, and help make this a hopeful, happy Christmas for less fortunate children across our great Nation! When you give to Marine Toys for Tots, 97% of your tax-deductible gift goes directly to buying the toys, books, and games that give children in need the Christmas they deserve. Visit to make a difference and change a life! After all—anyone can be Santa!

Donate to Toys for Tots on Giving TOYSday

(NewsUSA) - This holiday season, the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program celebrates its 75th year of delivering hope and joy to children in need across the Nation. Marines and volunteers are busy engaging with local businesses, media and community leaders to collect new, unwrapped toys to ensure that every child in need in their community has a present to open on Christmas morning.     

As the 2022 campaign season hits the halfway mark, Toys for Tots is asking for support from the American public now more than ever. Families across the Nation continue to deal with the continuing rise of inflation and other economic challenges. When families are struggling to make financial ends meet, giving their children a Merry Christmas can feel entirely out of their reach.       

That’s where you can help! Marine Toys for Tots encourages the American public to consider donating on November 29, which is globally known as Giving Tuesday -- but at Toys for Tots it’s Giving TOYSday! Every Giving TOYSday gift will deliver the joy of a new toy, book, or game at Christmastime to our Nation’s less fortunate children.     

“Since Marine Toys for Tots Program’s inception in 1947 with a single hand-crafted doll, we have distributed 627 million toys to over 281 million children in need over seven decades. We’ve adapted and overcome many challenges, but always accomplished the mission,” says Lieutenant General Jim Laster, USMC (Retired), President & CEO of the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation.     

“Today’s children are tomorrow’s future, and Marine Toys for Tots is dedicated to ensuring a brighter future for children living in challenging circumstances,” he adds. “Your Giving TOYSday gift is urgently needed to help us ensure that no child wakes up brokenhearted on Christmas morning.”     

Our Coordinators and volunteers are working around the clock to collect and sort toys that are generously donated across local campaigns. The gifts that our donors give can be the reason a child and their family believe in the magic of Christmas again -- and Coordinators can work until the last minute to ensure that “Santa” visits each house. Like our Coordinator Robert, who was making his last toy delivery of the day. He was approached by a local police officer, who mentioned that there was one more child in need who could use a Christmas miracle.     

Robert traveled to the home of the child, and a young boy answered the door with his mother. To Robert’s surprise, there were no Christmas decorations, no tree -- nothing representing the holiday season. The mother simply couldn’t afford it. But thanks to our loyal supporters, the boy and his mother received a Merry Christmas. Robert returned from his car with a bag full of Christmas gifts for the young boy. These gifts were made possible by our faithful donors -- they saved Christmas for this family.     

Toys for Tots needs your help to deliver the same magic that Robert delivered, to even more children in need across the Nation. Your gift can be the reason that a child and their family believe in the holiday magic again. Visit to donate on Giving TOYSday, or visit your local campaign website to find other ways to donate this giving season -- and remember that anyone can be Santa! 

Veteran-Led Coffee Company Will Fuel Your Fundraising

(NewsUSA) - Put the fun in your fundraising efforts with the power of coffee, a user-friendly website and the business acumen of a veteran-led nonprofit company that has been building donor trust since 2016.     

The Coffee Platoon will help raise funds for any school, organizational group, sports team, non-profit organization, or any programs, activities, and services in need of funds anywhere in the United States.     

Inflation is hitting everyone this year, and online fundraising offers a simple and cost-effective way to raise funds with no initial cost, no managing of inventory and no need to collect money in person. You can raise funds by providing your supporters with two things nearly half the population of the United States enjoys every day -- 100% Arabica coffee freshly ground and delicious hot chocolate -- for your campaign.      

“We have created an easy, fun way for all types of organizations to earn much-needed revenue to sustain programs, services and improvements,” says Mike Ferraro, founder of Bridging the Gap for Veterans, a nonprofit veteran-founded and -led organization that works to support career transitions for veterans to assist with hiring.     Bridging the Gap’s missions include career transition programs and coaching, educational scholarships, service animal programs, offering free professional business attire to veterans and online coffee fundraising.   

 “Our delicious coffee and hot chocolate products are sure to be a hit,” Ferraro adds.     

Getting started couldn’t be easier. Sign up through The Coffee Platoon online portal. This process generates a unique and customized link for your fundraiser.     

Share the link with friends, family, listservs, club memberships or anyone you want to reach with your fundraiser. Share the link in an email, or post on social media.     

The benefits are instant -- you can start earning on the first day! Contributors follow the link, select their coffee and submit their orders. Coffee flavors range from mild to dark, with blends inspired by the U.S. military. Check your progress throughout your campaign via a real-time running tally of all sales and purchase recipients on an easy-to-read, data-capturing spreadsheet.     

Mission accomplished! The orders are delivered, your supporters enjoy their coffee, and your organization benefits. Fundraising groups are paid immediately upon conclusion of the campaign, which can go for any duration -- most are four to six weeks.     

Two separate goals -- one mission -- to help others! Giving Tuesday is coming up, so it’s a great time to assess your fundraising needs for the holiday season and also to give your own support to the Coffee Platoon --  a victory for everyone involved.     

Visit for more information. 

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