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Toys for Tomodachi
YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan -- As part of the current relief efforts in Japan, Yokota Air Base wing leadership is sponsoring "Toys for Tomodachi," a week-long toy drive to support Japanese families displaced by the recent earthquake and tsunami in northern Japan. (U.S. Air Force photo/Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski)
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Team Yokota launches 'Toys for Tomodachi'

Posted 3/30/2011   Updated 3/30/2011 Email story   Print story


by Staff Sgt. J.G. Buzanowski
374th Airlift Wing Public Affairs

3/30/2011 - YOKOTA AIR BASE, Japan  -- Starting March 31, wing leadership sponsors a weeklong toy drive for Japanese families displaced by the recent earthquake and tsunami.

The drive, dubbed "Toys for Tomodachi," is part of overall relief efforts members of Team Yokota continue to support.

Donations can be brought to the base chapel through April 7. Officials stress that only pocket-sized toys should be donated, as displaced recipient families may have to carry all their belongings wherever they go.

"It's in our nature to want to help people in need," said Col. Otto Feather, 374th Airlift Wing commander. "I only ask that we do this smartly and on a scale that does not impact our primary mission to deliver humanitarian supplies."

Once all the toys are collected, the chapel staff will sort and prepare them for transport to families in the northern part of the country.

"People often ask how they can support the recovery efforts, and that spirit of generosity is amazing," said Master Sgt. Shanti Leiker. "'Toys for Tomodachi' will bring some much-needed smiles to the faces of Japanese youths.

"Currently, 'Toys for Tomodachi' is the only authorized donation drive at Yokota Air Base," she added.

In addition to small toy donations, Sergeant Leiker reiterated people can also make monetary donations to the American Red Cross.

"One of the easiest and most effective ways to help is through the American Red Cross," she said. "Financial assistance gives them the flexibility to buy exactly what they need to directly help the Japanese.

Donating toys for the children or money to the Red Cross are two avenues available for people, Sergeant Leiker said.

"We very much appreciate anything anyone can offer," said Sergeant Leiker.

"Toys for Tomodachi" is a concentrated, short-term effort, authorized by Colonel Feather, to specifically help Japanese children. Any similar drives held on base require wing commander approval.

For more information, call 225-6692.

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