DEDEDO, Guam—More children in Guam will have smiling faces this holiday season because of toys donated by local communities to the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program.
Maj. Chris Merrill, Toys for Tots coordinator with Marine Corps Activity Guam, expressed his appreciation to the people and organizations who volunteered to make this year’s campaign an outstanding success. “The generous, heartfelt support of our community makes the Toys for Tots program one of the most successful community events in the area.”
His sentiments were echoed by assistant coordinator, Gunnery Sgt. Donald McClester. “Support from the community is the biggest part of this program. Because of community involvement, lots of children will have a better Christmas this year.”
Now on its eighth year on the island, and thanks in large part to the Guam Chamber of Commerce, the Toys for Tots Program has gained the support of dozens of area retailers, architectural firms, public schools, real estate firms, automobile dealers, banks, restaurants, civic organizations and numerous members of the general public.
The Chamber also organized the Toys for Tots kick-off event on Sept. 28 and financed the Toys for Tots High School Challenge designed to encourage participation with cash prizes to the top three schools that collected the most toys per capita.
Iconic toy retailer Toys “R” Us, located in Micronesia Mall, was the largest single contributor to the program this year.
The Veterans of Guam Motorcycle Club and the United Service Organization’s commitment to support island communities also led to shopping sprees and the collection of hundreds of toys for the children of Guam.
Some businesses contributed to the campaign through services as well. The KUAM CareForce began collecting toys from the first week of the drive, but also helped the Marines advertise their efforts by means of a public service announcement aired throughout the studio’s programing schedule.
Matson shipping also provided services by transporting thousands of toys from Marine Corps Activity Guam to the Salvation Army and to Catholic Social Services on Dec. 15. Finally, Micronesian Air Cargo Services shipped a portion of the toys collected to Tinian where the Tinian Youth Athletes Club will present them in a holiday ceremony on Dec 23.
“Guam is a great place to live,” said McClester, “Seeing how people pull together to help each other out makes me proud to be part of this community. I look forward to seeing how we do next year for the program.”
Individuals in need of toys this year are urged to contact the Barrigada Salvation Army at (671) 477-9873 or the Catholic Social Services at 671-635-1441.
To see some of the individual contributors to this year’s campaign visit the Marine Corps Activity Guam Facebook site at https://www.facebook.com/USMCGuam. (PR)