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CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots program on Okinawa remains well short of its goal to have 10,000 goal toys to distribute by Christmas Eve, Marine officials say.

During Saturday’s Ho Ho Express push, volunteers went base to base by bus and collected about 1,400 toys, bringing the total this year to about 6,400 toys, officials said.

That’s far below expectations, said Staff Sgt. Suzette Smith, a reserve Marine from Atlanta who is on Okinawa to help run the program.

In past years, the Ho Ho Express run — the last major event held by Toys for Tots — had doubled the number of toys collected up to that point, Smith said.

To date, Toys for Tots on Okinawa has collected about 6,400 toys, said Gunnery Sgt. Charles Albrecht, a Marine Corps Base Camp Butler spokesman.

The goal of 10,000 toys is a standard for a military community the size of Okinawa’s, Albrecht said.

Officials said they were uncertain if that goal had been reached in previous years, and could not say why collections this year are below expectations.

Collections from other organizations contributing to the program are still to come, Albrecht said.

The motorcycle club “Boozefighters,” for example, is to hold its drive Saturday. Base schools also are helping by collecting toys and raising money, he said.

Also, people can leave gifts in Toys for Tots drop boxes at military exchanges and elsewhere on bases.

Still, Albrecht added, “It’s crunch time.”


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