2,000 toys distributed at multi-purpose center

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AS part of the Toys for Tots campaign, the Lady Diann Torres Foundation distributed 2,000 toys to children at the multi-purpose center on Wednesday night.

In an interview, first lady Diann Torres said there was a good turnout for the event, adding that about 400 children already registered online two days before the distribution. A lot more showed up at the multi-purpose center on Wednesday evening.

Mrs. Torres said it was the first time that the foundation participated in the Toys for Tots campaign of the U.S. Marine Corps.

The Saipan Young Professionals, which also participated in this year’s campaign, worked with the private sector and distributed gifts to underprivileged children.

For its part, the first lady’s foundation reached out to government agencies and provided toys to everyone.

Marine 1st Lt. Brett Lazaroff, the Toys of Tots coordinator for the Marianas, said the campaign continues to grow in the CNMI.

He said Toys for Tots has been around since 1947. “This is its 10th year in the Marianas and the fifth year on Saipan,” he added.

He said this is the first time for the campaign to partner with the Lady Diann Torres Foundation.

“We just want to see the program grow every year. Seeing the look on children’s faces when they get a toy for Christmas is really what the program is all about,” he added,

Last year, Lazaroff said, they collected over 10,000 toys in the CNMI and Guam. “We think we are going to break that record again this year. Every year, the program is growing. With our partners, we are able to collect more toys and reach more children,” he added.

Lazaroff is hoping that other community groups or other agencies will get involved in the annual campaign. “Because we don’t have a permanent presence here, they are a huge help in getting this program off the ground as it continues to grow here in the CNMI,” he said.

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