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Marines transform into Santa's elves for Toys for Tots initiative

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Posted at 9:24 AM, Nov 21, 2023

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — It’s not quite Santa's workshop, but it’s close.

“We genuinely do feel like Santa's elves. We just happened to be wearing a different set of uniforms,” said Marine Corps Sgt. Justin Pascual.

The Toys for Tots effort is in full swing.

“I’m building toy orders for organizations to come in and take and give out to individual families," said Pascual, who is in charge of the Toys for Tots operation in San Diego County.

“I’ll be honest, when I joined I didn’t think I was going to be doing something like this. In my nature, I like helping people and I get to see that I’m impacting so much that it makes me happy that I get to actually help all these kids," he added.

Last year, he and his team helped more than 100,000 kids in the San Diego community.

“It’s important because we are trying to help all the less fortunate kids out there who are unable to have a Christmas, whose families are unable to buy them toys or anything like that. That’s why we’re here to help them,” Pascual said.

The Marines have already collected over 70,000 toys this year, but they want to more than double that number because they want to serve more than 200,000 kids this year.

Organizations that distribute the toys are already spreading the holiday cheer, and that’s something that warms Pascual’s heart.

“It feels great to know that these kids are getting what they need to have an actual Christmas,” Pascual told ABC 10News.

Distribution of the toys has already started and will continue through Dec. 26.

You can find out how to volunteer alongside our Marines here.