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U.S. Marines based at RAF Molesworth are doing their part to spread a little Christmas cheer this holiday season.

All 22 Marines attached to the base are taking part in the annual Toys for Tots drive to benefit the needy in neighboring British communities of Peterborough and Huntingdon. Last year the Marines mustered up 2,000 toys through donations, Staff Sgt. Cody Moreno said.

"The goal is to always collect more [than the previous year]," Moreno said. "It is kind of moving."

The Marines last year helped put smiles on the faces of 500 families who otherwise might not have received toys, Moreno said. Children as young as 8 months old to 16 and older benefit from the drive, he said.

Marines work with the British charity Step One and the homeless shelter Coneygear Court to ensure that the toys are distributed to people who really need them, Moreno said.

This year’s drive ends Dec. 12. Marines will be at the exchanges at RAF Mildenhall and RAF Alconbury from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday and Sunday collecting toys. Collection bins have been set up at RAF Molesworth and the Marines are spreading the word by posting bulletins all over their home station.

Various organizations, including soccer teams, donate toys to charities in the U.K. this time of year, but Moreno said the Marines are the only Americans he knows of who help in this way.

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