News: Toys for Tots Hawaii 2010 Drive kicks off
Story by Christine Cabalo
MARINE CORPS BASE HAWAII — Hop aboard the train helping “Toys for Tots,” which launches this month to provide new toys to children in need for Christmas.
Hop aboard the train helping “Toys for Tots,” which launches this month to provide new toys to children in need for Christmas.
Members of 4th Force Reconnaissance Company at Marine Corps Base Hawaii are collecting toys and funds to bring holiday cheer to more than 90 local non-profit organizations.
“We are in desperate need of volunteers,” said Staff Sgt. Rafael Arriaga Jr., Toys for Tots coordinator.
Budget cuts have hit the company, and Arriaga said reservists are relying completely on volunteer help to run the program. Both service members and civilians can help to process donations and support upcoming events.
“We always need drivers to drop off boxes all over the island,” he said. “Our busiest days are going to be Dec. 16 to Dec. 18 because that’s when we’re doing our toy pick-ups.”
All money and toys donated locally are directed straight to children in Hawaii, he said. Arriaga noted one organization requested 2,000 toys for children it serves.
Both he and Chief Petty Officer Lorenzo Branch, Toys for Toys assistant coordinator, said that demand is so strong in some age groups, the program struggles each year to meet it. Toys for small children up to 3 years old as well toys for teenage girls who are 11 and older are greatly needed.
The two agreed having more civilian or uniformed volunteers would help keep the holidays bright for Hawaii’s children of every age.
“Even though it’s a Marine Corps-run program, we’re still encouraging our sailors and any other branch of service, to take part,” Branch said.
For more information call Staff Sgt. Arriaga at 257-7147 or see http://kaneohe-bay-hi.toysfortots.org/