JAMM AQUINO / JAQUINO@STARBULLETIN.COM
Lance Cpl. Kenji Conley, right, and Lance Cpl. Scott Argue organize toys that were donated during the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve's annual Toys for Tots drive at the Waikiki Shell parking lot.
Donations down, but kids get toys
The Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots drive collected more than 30,000 toys for needy children in Hawaii this year, said Staff Sgt. Jens Orsen, this year's coordinator.
The annual toy drive wrapped up this weekend. Orsen said the last toys were collected and picked up yesterday at their Dole Cannery warehouse.
The Salvation Army is distributing the toys to about 16,000 needy children, Orsen said.
When the final count is tallied, the drive will likely fall short of last year's total, when about 50,000 toys were collected. But Orsen said they were able to make sure every needy child would get at least one toy.
"It was really worth it, I think," Orsen said. "We accomplished what we had to."
Orsen said Hawaii wasn't the only place where toy collections were down from last year. He said the same thing has been happening nationwide.
The Toys for Tots campaign began in Los Angeles in 1947 and the Marine Corps Reserve adopted the program in 1948, said Chuck Little, deputy public affairs officer for Marine Corps Base Hawaii. Since then the program has collected more than 370 million toys, he said.
Toys for Tots started in Hawaii in 1963.