Marines deliver toys to young orphans in Seoul
SEOUL — Children crowded the sliding glass doors of the Hwang Seong Yeonngahwon orphanage in Seoul last week as the Marines backed their van onto the playground to play Santa.
Stacked from the floor to the roof of the van were 200 toys, and the orphans were eager to get a closer look.
Their faces brightened as Staff Sgt. Nathan Natchke, who heads the Marine Forces Korea Toys for Tots drive, and Gunnery Sgt. Marylyn Sabol carried armloads of stuffed toys, action figures and Tonka trucks into the building.
The children flocked to the Marines and the two civilians who had accompanied them.
Some screamed with joy, others attacked each other with stuffed animals, but all of them seemed glad the Marines had come.
Thursday’s visit marked the twelfth orphanage to receive toys from the Marine Corps’ annual drive.
Others to benefit from the program included patients at the 121st Combat Support Hospital, and 19 children who had been sponsored in the Angel Tree program in Areas I and II.
Natchke said about 3,700 toys were collected through the drive, which began Nov. 16. He estimated that 1,800 to 1,900 toys were collected last year.
“This is the culmination of the program,” he said. “If it hadn’t been for [media coverage] we probably only would have collected about half of what we did.”