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The Salvation Army received about 5,000 gifts through the Marine Toys for Tots program on Dec. 17, 2018. Jerick Sablan, [email protected]

The Christmas spirit is alive and well on island, with more than 7,800 gifts donated to the Marine Toys for Tots program.

More than 5,000 of those toys were dropped off at the Salvation Army in Tiyan Monday morning, loaded in a 40-foot Matson shipping container. Another 20-foot container, with about 2,000 gifts, was dropped off at Catholic Social Services.

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The Marines also dropped off gifts to Transforming Ourselves through Healing, Growth and Enrichment Inc., which has asked for gifts for children whose parents are in substance abuse treatment. 

Marines have come through

Maj. Tom Stambaugh, Salvation Army Guam Corps officer and Micronesia coordinator, said the Marines have come through Christmas after Christmas and received more gifts than last year.

Distribution of the gifts will start this week, and the Salvation Army expects to give about 1,000 children toys and food for Christmas, he said.

“Now it’s up to us to take these donations and give it to those families,” he said. 

Stambaugh said the partnership with the Marines is greatly appreciated and he thanked them for the hard work they have done.

Great to see community coming together

1st Lt. Brett Lazaroff, communication strategy and operations officer with Marine Corps Activity Guam, said they collected more than 7,800 gifts as of Monday morning, with some locations still needing to get picked up. 

Last year, Toys for Tots was able to collect about 7,300 toys, he said.

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“The importance of Toys for Tots is being able to give that Christmas joy and holiday spirit to all the kids,” Lazaroff said.

He said it’s always great to see the community coming together and giving back to those in need.

More than 80 businesses helped the program

He thanked all the sponsors who continue to make the program a success, including the Guam Chamber of Commerce, Matson, Salvation Army and Catholic Social Services.

More than 80 businesses on Guam helped the program as drop-off points for gifts, beginning in October.

High school students also played a huge role this year through the Chamber of Commerce challenge, which collected more than 3,000 toys just from the high schools alone, he said.

“It’s just been really great to be part of the community,” Lazaroff said. 

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