Toys for Tots and the Santa Train: A Great Time for A Great Cause

Sgt. Jason Dombrosky, USMC 2023 Toys for Tots Coordinator, joins members of the Santa Train planning committee at the Steamtown National Historic Site.

“It is in giving that we receive.”

Since 1947, the Marine Corps and Toys for Tots have been making a difference in the lives of American families. A few years ago, Lackawanna Heritage Valley extended this thoughtful campaign to the Santa Train, where children and their families are encouraged to bring an unwrapped new toy when they visit Saint Nick along his stops throughout the Lackawanna Valley.
Created by Marine Corps Reserve Major Bill Hendricks and his wife, Diane, Toys for Tots became a national community action program in 1948. Hendricks worked for Warner Brothers Studios and got Walt Disney to design a poster featuring a miniature three-car train that became the iconic logo. Today, the Toys for Tots Foundation, founded in 1991, continues to run and support the program. It’s a heartwarming example of how compassion and community spirit can create magic during the holiday season.
The Santa Train started capturing the imaginations of local children in 1996. After taking a two-year respite during the pandemic, the train returned last year and will celebrate its 25th anniversary.
On Saturday, December 2nd, Santa, and his jolly caravan of merrymakers will be rolling along the historic Delaware and Hudson rail line in the upper and mid-valley communities before reaching its final destination at the Steamtown National Historic Site in Scranton. While some special anniversary surprises are in store, children can participate in the gift of giving by bringing an unwrapped new toy to any of the passenger station drop boxes. The train schedule: 10:30 AM at, Carbondale; 11:35 AM at Archbald; 12:20 PM at Jessup; 1 p.m. at Olyphant; 1:45 PM at Dickson City; and 3 PM at Steamtown. At each stop, Santa will greet the children, and families are encouraged to assemble at their respective train stations before the scheduled arrival times.