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Lance Cpl. David Brauer, 20, from Sacremento, Calif, with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, mans a Toys for Tots collection box at the Kadena exchange Saturday. Okinawa's Toys for Tots campaign kicked off Saturday morning at the Camp Foster exchange and that afternoon at the Kadena exchange.
Lance Cpl. David Brauer, 20, from Sacremento, Calif, with Combat Logistics Regiment 35, mans a Toys for Tots collection box at the Kadena exchange Saturday. Okinawa's Toys for Tots campaign kicked off Saturday morning at the Camp Foster exchange and that afternoon at the Kadena exchange. (Cindy Fisher / S&S)

KADENA AIR BASE, Okinawa — Toys for Tots kicked off Saturday at the exchanges on Kadena Air Base and Camp Foster with a call for more toys and more volunteers.

The annual Marine Corps Reserve program — which got its start in 1947 — collects new, unwrapped toys to distribute to families at Christmas.

Toys for Tots on Okinawa is a little different from stateside programs, said Staff Sgt. Felipe Sanchez, the Okinawa program’s lead coordinator. It’s conducted by Reserve Marines but relies on help from active-duty volunteers from all four services, he said.

He hopes to have soldiers, airmen and sailors help man collection boxes and help sort toys in their warehouse on Camp Foster, he said.

"We need every volunteer we can get," he said, especially as this year’s goal is 10,000 toys.

Collection drop boxes will be placed at Army and Air Force Exchange System locations on camps Foster, Lester, Hansen, Kinser and Courtney as well as at Torii Station and Kadena Air Base, according to a news release.

All 13 Department of Defense Dependants Schools—Okinawa schools also will have drop boxes, and some of the schools will compete to collect the most toys, according to a DODDS-Okinawa release.

Some Navy Federal Credit Unions will host drop boxes, and plans call for drop boxes at off-base retail locations, Sanchez said.

As Christmas draws near, the toys collected will be passed out in "the local community to hospitals for the physically and mentally handicapped, schools, orphanages and to under-privileged children both on and off base," according to the Marine release.

To volunteer, call 090-6861-0577 or DSN 645-8073 or 8066.

See more photos from the Special Olympics at Kadena here.

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