Travelers of Gulliver’s gather new toys for Camp Pendleton Marines
After just one meeting, Karen Wilson was convinced that she wanted to be a part of the Travelers Of Gulliver’s charitable organization. She is now a current board member and secretary of the organization.
“It was in 2011 that my friend, John Scudder, invited me to a meeting, which was all men at the time,” said Wilson, who lives in Anaheim Hills. “They always met at Gulliver’s [Restaurant], and he asked me if I could help him out because they wanted to get involved with the Marines.”
Wilson thought it sounded like a lot of fun inviting Marines from Camp Pendleton for a Christmas lunch and toy giveaway for their families.
And on Dec. 1 this year, the festive holiday gathering, which was open to the public and included a raffle and silent auction, continued at Gulliver’s Restaurant in Irvine. “It has really grown since 2013 when we first invited the Marines for a lunch and toys for children of Marine families,” said Wilson, who refers to herself as a “jack-of-all-trades” for the organization. “The first year we had 30 to 35 people, and this time we had 75.”
Spreading beyond the Christmas tree that sat in the corner of Gulliver’s banquet room during the Camp Pendleton Marine & Family Christmas Holiday party was the huge collection of donated new toys. The six Marines who attended the event later transported the generous gifts for distribution to 350 Marines and their family members.
First Sgt. Garrett Jolly of Wichita, Kan., who attended for the second year, expressed his gratitude, saying, “On behalf of Lt. Col. Sgt. Major Hernandez the Marines and sailors of first Reconnaissance Battalion, I want to thank the community of Orange County for the donations of all the Christmas gifts that they provided for all the military families.”
“For 25 years or so, it has been a pleasure helping in Santa’s work for the children of those who serve America around the world,” said Newport Beach resident John Scudder.
A nonprofit organization, Travelers of Gulliver’s is comprised of Orange County business and professional leaders dedicated to the belief that “need has no season” for those individuals and groups who are less fortunate.
The organization was founded in 1999 by 11 charter members as a result of a newspaper article reporting the hardships and challenges of impoverished children living in hotels in Orange County. Travelers of Gulliver’s has expanded its mission to identify and assist those who are making a meaningful difference in the community along with providing assistance to special individuals and groups in crisis with 100% of contributions going to charity.
The organization recognizes that many individuals and especially children are in desperate need and do not receive assistance from formal charities.
Among the local recipients are the Orangewood Children and Family Center in Orange and schools in Costa Mesa, where each year Traveler’s donates 200 backpacks to children in need.
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