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Runners set off Friday in the Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race at Yokosuka Naval Base. Instead of entrance fees, runners brought toys to give to underprivileged children over the holidays. Toy collection drives also will be held outside Yokosuka's Navy Federal Credit Union and the Navy Exchange.

Runners set off Friday in the Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race at Yokosuka Naval Base. Instead of entrance fees, runners brought toys to give to underprivileged children over the holidays. Toy collection drives also will be held outside Yokosuka's Navy Federal Credit Union and the Navy Exchange. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

Runners set off Friday in the Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race at Yokosuka Naval Base. Instead of entrance fees, runners brought toys to give to underprivileged children over the holidays. Toy collection drives also will be held outside Yokosuka's Navy Federal Credit Union and the Navy Exchange.

Runners set off Friday in the Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race at Yokosuka Naval Base. Instead of entrance fees, runners brought toys to give to underprivileged children over the holidays. Toy collection drives also will be held outside Yokosuka's Navy Federal Credit Union and the Navy Exchange. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

MWR fitness intern Casey Story signs in a runner for Friday's Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race.

MWR fitness intern Casey Story signs in a runner for Friday's Marine Corps/MWR Toys for Tots race. (Allison Batdorff / S&S)

With Christmas 22 days away, Marines in Japan have started their annual Toys for Tots drive to ensure a merry holiday for needy children.

Marine Corps Air Station Iwakuni will kick off its campaign with a motorcycle rally in which participants donate a toy, said Iwakuni’s Toys for Tots coordinator Jay Stovall.

Volunteers will man the main drop box at the Iwakuni exchange Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 24, and donation boxes will be set up in unit buildings, he said.

Toys also can be donated at the Hornet’s Nest and Ironworks Gym 24 hours a day.

Stovall said donations should be new, unwrapped toys worth about $25.

Iwakuni military families can request gift assistance through unit chaplains, who also will canvass units for families in need, Stovall said.

“We coordinate a discreet toy drop response to those families,” he said.

On Okinawa, the 2006 campaign began Nov. 18 at the Camp Foster exchange. Military families on the island can contact their unit Toys for Tots representative for assistance, and Marines also can nominate families, according to a Marine report.

Stovall said Iwakuni volunteers also will take toys to several area orphanages.

In past years, Iwakuni has received more toys than needed locally, so troops also distributed them during deployments to Thailand, South Korea and Australia, Stovall said.

This year, extra toys will go with Marines to the Talon Vision exercise in the Philippines for distribution at orphanages, he said.

For more information about the Toys for Tots drive, call DSN 253-3585 at Iwakuni and DSN 645-8066 on Okinawa.


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