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OKINAWA CITY, Okinawa — “A gift from our children, to your children.”

That’s how Lt. Cmdr. Steven Moses, Marine Corps Base deputy chaplain, described a 2,000-pound donation of canned and boxed food Tuesday to Misato Children’s Home.

The food drive began in the spirit competition among various schools on Marine Corps camps, Marine Corps Community Services spokeswoman Jennifer Ball said.

The schools collected food throughout November, she said, noting the school that turned in the most food received a rotating trophy.

“Bechtel Elementary gathered the most, but all the schools had great contributions,” Ball said.

The food drive was in conjunction with Military Family Appreciation Month.

Officials tallied the number of donated items and presented the trophy Nov. 22 during Family Readiness Day Exposition.

Moses said Marines donated to the children’s home because the holiday food voucher program already exists for Marines and sailors who may need a little help this time of year.

“They called around to find someone that had the want and need for this amount of food,” Moses said. “We didn’t want to piece it out to five or six places; we wanted to find someone that could use it all.”

Misato Children’s Home is for children ages 1 to 18; there are currently 50 children in the home.

“All of them stay here until they graduate from high school,” home Director Kunio Takara said. “This is the first time that such a huge amount of food is donated. I am sure the children will be surprised to see a heap of food when they come home from school.”

For the children, the donation offers the fun of experiencing new types of food.

For the home, it’s a great boost to a tightly-stretched budget, Takara said, adding: “We can set aside some budget otherwise used for food, and with that money we can buy new clothing for the children for Christmas and New Year, just like any parents would do.

“Maybe we can also send older children to soccer and basketball training camps scheduled in February on the island.”

Misato board Chairman Norio Ota said, “I would like to express my gratitude to the generous gift to the children. For many years, the Marine Corps community has been very supportive of us.”

Marines visit regularly to do cleaning and maintenance work, he said.

“The yard the children play in is well maintained thanks to the hard work of many people from the Marine Corps community,” he said.

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