Today’s writing prompt, Toys for Tots, is the ninth prompt of the TWELVE DAYS OF CHRISTMAS PROMPTS on the Daily Drafts and Dialogues blog this year. Keep reading to see the full prompt.

Today’s Writing Prompt: Toys for Tots

Write a scene about a character who is working at a toy drive for the holidays. What are they seeing, thinking, and feeling?

If you complete this writing prompt, share your draft by tagging #DailyDraftsAndDialogues and @kecreighton on Medium, WordPress, or Facebook.

One comment

  1. It had been the longest day of his 20-year career. Dan had arrived at work at 5 AM to oversee the Toys for Tots display. They were promised two US Marines in dress blues at 10 AM, and they had agreed to stay until 12 noon. The presence of the Marines at his business was a tradition that spanned his entire 20-year career, but the extra work required to set it up meant he came in two hours early and left an hour later. The usual supports for the sign and the massive carrier needed to transport the gifts, while old and showing wear, still fit nicely.
    His meeting at 8 am was something he always looked forward to. The bosses were almost always in a holiday mood, and the potluck was never to be missed. He managed to complete his reports and leave the store with his assistant manager before sliding into his seat at the conference table with only 1 minute to spare.
    Mr. Craig surprised everyone with their holiday bonuses in a Christmas card. He explained that the business had a banner year, and the board insisted on bonuses for everyone. Since I was off for the next two days, this would really help with holiday gifts, especially for my third grandchild.
    Dan gave his usual progress report on his store, and Mr. Craig mentioned that his sales had increased 20% over the prior year. He felt tired, but happy as each store showed a minimum of 5% increase. This put the bonuses in perspective. Dan also pointed out that everyone was invited to the employee luncheon to honor the Toys for Tots and the US Marines that were expected to attend.
    Mr. Craig closed the meeting with a video from the CEO, thanking the entire company for a strong year, and introducing some small changes in the 401K and medical benefits. Dan tarried after the meeting, and made a point of inviting Mr. Craig to the luncheon personally. The new caterer this year was a hugely touted family restaurant that specialized in home cooking.
    Dan hurried back to the store, only to find that the US Marines were upset about something. He was met by his assistant store manager, who explained that someone had managed to damage the large crate on the toy display. I went into the receiving area, and found the entire bottom of the crate missing. This wasn’t the campaign Dan had hoped for. He quickly had his display team transfer the display to a new crate, and told the department manager to write off the crate to the display account.
    The transfer took only 10 minutes, and the Marines were met with a new display at exactly 10 AM in front of the store. Dan shook their hands, and thanked them with finger foods and coffee. They were relieved to have the display fixed, and they accepted the invitation to the luncheon.
    Dan was slightly late to the store meeting, but had brought the holiday bonuses to the meeting. The entire store was happy, and the payroll manager took the remaining bonuses and promised to hand them out to any employees who were not scheduled that day. After meeting with his department supervisors, and dealing with a few issues, he sat at his desk at 11:30 with a cup of coffee and feeling happy to have averted a major issue.
    At 11:55, Dan buttoned up the office for the day, knowing his assistant supervisor would handle the store for the rest of the day. He hurried down to the display, and the Marines were shaking hands and taking selfies with some families. The bin was full of gifts, and some overflow had been put in another large box nearby. The Marines finished, and he escorted them to the luncheon.
    The employee lunch room was packed with workers and family members, and the Marines were given the place of honor. Dan and the other department supervisors served the beautiful spread to everyone, then they sat at the head table with the Marines. Dan told the supervisors to make sure all hourly employees were back at work by 1 PM.
    The entire luncheon went well. Then, his assistant manager surprised everyone by announcing the retirement of Marty, the shift supervisor in receiving. His record of 30 years was captured in a montage of pictures on a slideshow, and the pictures brought laughter and some tears. The last picture featured Martin being honored at the local VFW, and the two Marines next to him asked Dan if Martin was a veteran. His service record from his employee record was laid out, and both were shocked to find he was awarded the Medal of Honor and the Purple Heart.
    Dan asked Martin to come up, and he was given a retirement gift of an annual pension, approved that week. Then, the Marines stood and told any vets, active or inactive reserves, and first responders to stand. Almost half the room stood, and snapped a smart salute to Martin. As he returned the salute, I saw a tear in the corner of his eye.
    I asked Martin if he would mind sharing some of his memories with us, and he quickly told of how Toys for Tots had been the only gifts he received growing up. The Marines were brought to tears, and before the party ended, Marty invited them both to the annual VFW New Year’s Eve party. Family was welcome, and Marty extended the invitation to all those who stood.
    The taller of the Marines, a Sgt. Kovich, asked Martin if he had been at the Tet Offensive. Martin told him he got both medals from that very battle. Sgt. Kovich swallowed hard, and asked if one of the men in his unit was Carl Kovich, and Martin told him that that was the name of one of the men he had saved that day. Sgt. Kovich hugged Martin and told him that was his father.
    Sgt. Kovich promised to bring his father to the New Year’s Eve party at the VFW, and promised to bring as many survivors from his unit as possible. Martin embraced him, and the entire lunch room erupted in cheers of “Martin, Martin!”

Comments are closed.