Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Monday, November 21, 2005

Toys for Tots campaign kicks off on Okinawa

Every year, units all over the Marine Corps participate in the Toys for Tots campaign, collecting charitable donations of new, unwrapped toys during November and December and distributing them as Christmas gifts to needy children.

Marines have distributed over 332.5 million toys to more than 158 million needy children since 1947, according to a Nov. 3 Marine Corps press release. The goal of the charity is to build self-esteem and motivate needy children to grow into responsible, productive, patriotic citizens and community leaders.

Donation collection boxes will be set up all over Okinawa until Dec. 22, including post and base exchanges on Camps Foster, Kinser and Courtney and Kadena Air Base.

The toys will be distributed to military family members on Okinawa military installations. The Toys for Tots volunteers will also be working with the Japan Ground Self Defense Force to distribute toys to Okinawa schools and orphanages, according to Staff Sgt. Roberto P. Raniero, the Toys for Tots coordinator on Okinawa.

Toys will be sorted by age and gender and checked for safety and propriety.

'We take into account who the toys are going to,' Raniero said.

Last year, Toys for Tots donated more than 6,000 new toys to local schools for the handicapped, orphanages and children's hospitals, according to Raniero.

'We give a lot of toys to the underprivileged children of Okinawa,' he said. 'We want to show them that the Marines here want to make a difference.'

Toys for Tots identifies military families in need during the holidays and helps ensure the children of struggling families get a new toy. Last year, Toys for Tots on Okinawa distributed more then 3,000 toys to children of military families in need.

By working with the Japanese military, Raniero hopes more toys can be received and distributed.

"The more people we help and the more children that get a toy from us, the better," Raniero said.

Local organizations or individuals who wish to receive toys can contact Raniero at 645-8066. Anyone interested in volunteering to help with the Toys for Tots campaign can also contact Raniero.
Christmas Tree


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