The shelter for abused women and children, Guma Esperanza, and the Karidat Social Services received a total of about $6,500 in donations during a toy drive held at the Veterans of Foreign Wars office in Garapan last Sunday.
Organized by COMPSRON 3 and PREPO ships masters, Navy shipmen went from ship to ship to raise money for the shelter. Using the money collected, toys were bought for the children and the remaining funds were used as cash donations.
Lauri Ogumuro, executive director for Karidat, said, “This is always a fun and touching event. It started many years ago and the tradition of buying gifts for the children at the shelter just kept on going. It’s a beautiful way of giving back to the community and to the women and children who are victims of domestic violence. We are just overwhelmed by everyone’s generosity.”
By the end of the event, Karidat received 124 toys for the children under its care.
“For the men and women who are on the ships and are far away from their families, it helps them give back to the community and get them in the spirit of the holidays despite the distance. It kind of touches them and gives them the true meaning of the season,” Ogumuro said.
James Toy, captain of the MV Major Bernard F. Fisher, said, “For a lot of these kids, the gifts we deliver to them may just be the only present they get for Christmas. As for the event, I think it worked out just as well as I thought it would. We raised a considerable amount of money and at least the kids will have a little bit of Christmas this year.”
Toy coordinated between ships, squadron, and Guma Esperanza to help make the event possible.
“This whole event is for the women and children of this island. It is for the local community. We are talking about a battered women’s shelter where women who have been abused go to seek refuge. They’re coming in from a rough situation, so events like this kind of lightens the load for them,” Toy said. “Ambyth [Shipping] did a lot of the legwork. They got the haul and provided transportation as well as made a contribution to the fund.”