The weekend was filled with holiday fun and the spirit of giving as supporters of the Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots program gathered at various events Dec. 5 -7.
The events and excitement were reminiscent of the campaign’s inception in Hawaii, said P. Pasha Baker, the widow of Jack Baker, who introduced the Toys for Tots campaign in Hawaii in 1963.
To start off the Toys for Tots weekend, more than 50 golfers participated in the Navy League’s 3rd Annual Toys for Tots Golf Tournament at the Navy-Marine Golf Course Dec. 5.
“This offers Navy and Marine retirees a chance to get back together and give something back to the community,” said Ed Dubats, a Navy League member. “We’re just here to have fun while giving less-fortunate kids a special holiday.”
Organizers of the event were satisfied with this year’s turnout.
“Last year we collected 322 toys, and looking at the turnout today, I’m sure we will beat that number this year,” said Bob McDermott, organizer of the tournament.
The Navy League estimated they received 400 toys.
Pasha was in attendance and brought her share of toys for the event.
“I was raised in foster homes as a little girl, so it is exciting for me to continue what my husband started,” said Pasha. “Helping others is such a satisfying, humbling feeling, especially since many lose sight of that during the holidays.”
In keeping sight of the holiday traditions of helping others, approximately 200 vehicles from various Oahu car clubs participated in the 34th Annual Toys for Tots Cruise Dec. 6.
The cruise started in Kapolei and made its way over the Ko’olau Mountains and ended at Marine Corps Base Hawaii – Kaneohe Bay.
“There are two types of people in this world -- those that who the world owes them something and those who think they owe the world,” said ‘Kokomo,’ cruise organizer. “We’re the second kind. We’re lucky to be alive and here, and we want to give something back to the community.”
Bikers also got their chance to show their support for Hawaii’s less-fortunate children Dec. 7 during the 34th Annual Street Bikers United Toy Run.
The thunderous sounds of exhaust pipes mixed with holiday music filled the air as more than 5,000 motorcyclists from around the world took off from Ala Moana Beach park, through Waikiki and ended up at the toy collection point at Kapiolani Community College.
Toy donations, which were estimated in the thousands, filled two rental box trucks and a 7-ton truck.
Bikers were in the holiday spirit, some with costumes and decorated bikes.
“This is our biggest event of the year, involving motorcycle clubs from around the state and around the world, and we do it to help out the children who are less fortunate,” said Brian Grayling, Hawaii state director of Street Bikers United, who puts on the annual event. “It’s a fun ride and it’s an important event for the children.”
The Marine Corps Reserve’s Toys for Tots campaign hopes to collect more than 40,000 toys statewide, according to Gunnery Sgt. Chris Whitley, Toys for Tots coordinator.
All donations to Toys for Tots in Hawaii, stay in Hawaii.
For more information on the Marine Corps Reserve’s annual Toys for Tots campaign, go to www.toysfortots.org.