LIHUE — United States Marine J Q Smith was on his way to the North Shore for toy pick up, but stopped by The Salvation Army, Lihue Corps with a check for $2,000, Wednesday morning.
“This is what we’ve been able to collect so far,” Smith said. “Things aren’t going as well as I thought they would. It’s been a bad year for us. I’m losing my voice after thanking all those people who helped, and we’re still not where we need to be.”
Smith, 91, has been spearheading the Toys for Tots campaign for the past several weeks, manning collection stations and soliciting funds and toys from shoppers.
His effort was so focused he missed the annual Kauai Veterans Council Christmas party when he spent his day collecting outside a Lihue store.
Lt. Bill Simon of The Salvation Army agreed the toy collection is less than previous years. He noted the Red Kettle collections are also off.
“We were hoping for at least a thousand toys to fill this year’s need,” Simon said. “But, there is still a ways to go. We did our distribution to the Hanapepe Corps earlier, and we also service several other agencies, including the Catholic Charities. We still have a couple of days before Saturday afternoon when we get our last deliveries of toys for Christmas.”
Simon was working with Salvation Army volunteers who were faced with a line of families waiting on their holiday wish lists which comprised of a lot of toys for their keiki.
“A lot of them want at least a toy for their children,” Simon said. “I want to do better, and give them three.”