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North Platte native tells Toys for Tots storyTell North Platte what you think
Courtesy Photo­Image
Courtesy Photo­Image
Beki Varicak

Former North Platte resident Rebecca (Beki) Varicak, has tracked the journey of a toy named Ted as he travels from the shelves of a store to become a gift for a child on Christmas Day.

"The Journey of a Toys for Tots Toy" was written to explain the process to Varicak’s six-year-old daughter. All proceeds go to Toys for Tots.

Varicak is a 1990 graduate of North Platte High School and married to Marine Lt. Col. Mike Varicak, who is also from North Platte. The couple have three children.

While stationed in Quantico, Va, Beki Varicak began working at the Toys for Tots Foundation. When her husband was transferred to Marietta, Ga., she became the volunteer coordinator for the Atlanta Toys for Tots campaign.

Toys for Tots is a charitable program run by the United States Marine Corps Reserve that distributes Christmas toys to children whose parents cannot afford to buy gifts. The program was founded in 1947 by reservist Major William L. Hendricks and inspired by his wife Diane, who tried to donate a homemade Raggedy Ann doll to a needy child but could find no organization to do so. At Diane's suggestion, William gathered local Marine reservists, including Lt. Col. John Hampton, who coordinated and collected some 5,000 toys for children that year from collection bins placed outside of Warner Bros. movie theaters.

The next year Toys For Tots was launched as a national campaign.

In 1991, the Secretary of Defense authorized the creation and affiliation with the non-profit charity foundation and as of 2009, the Toys for Tots Program and Foundation has collected and distributed almost 500 million toys.

Beki is the daughter of Jim and Barb Keller, and Lt. Col. Mike Varicak is the son of Mike and Katy Varicak, all from North Platte.

Beki is on the staff of St. Teresa’s Episcopal Church of Acworth, Ga.

Another daughter, Ellie Varicak, illustrated the book. Ellie is a junior in high school.

To purchase a book and help the cause, go HERE.

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 11/24/2012
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