‘We who can, should’: How a Hawaii man turned a small toy drive into a movement
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - With the holidays just around the corner, families near and far are focused on all that needs to be done: Shopping, party planning and gift giving.
But for Mark Imaizumi, the top of his list annually is organizing a toy drive for keiki in need.
“I think it started probably in 2017 to a smaller degree,” he said, standing amid a massive mound of toys.
“People started doing it and then each year it started growing growing growing, and the participation got bigger and bigger and bigger.”
Every year, he rallies his elves to pull off some Christmas magic, shoring up donations from near and far.
“This is just the beginning and blessed be, this is a compilation of a participating group of people from Hilo all the way to Manhattan just wanting to be able to contribute somehow for magic for the children,” he said.
Just days into his 2022 drive, he’s already raised over $3,000 in toys and cash, with more coming in daily. He does the shopping so donors don’t have to.
As a local entertainer and Hilo native, Imaizumi has gained a loyal following with most of the donations coming through long-time friendships, and social media platforms. Even co-workers, and neighboring businesses pitch in.
“The inspiration behind it is because we who can, should,” he said. “It’s just really a blessing. I mean if you just stand in the midst of all this and you think about all the people that gave from the heart.”
Imaizumi partners with Toys for Tots who will collect the haul in mid-December. The toys will go to less fortune keiki, including those at the Kapiolani medical center. COVID precautions changed rules for toy sharing at the hospital, so he’s on a mission to make sure they have a bountiful supply for all kids.
“There’s no ages, there’s no limits. We’re collecting everything everything for everyone,” Imaizumi added.
He also gives thanks to those who help him with this annual initiative saying, “This is not a solo project, I just encourage it. But I am standing in the midst of the gifts of a bunch of people... So I just wanna say thank you to everyone.”
It’s an act of kindness proving not all holiday heroes wear a red Santa suit and travel via flying reindeer.
If you’d like to donate, he’s accepting cash donations via Venmo under username @Marina-DelRey. Unwrapped new toys are also being accepted in-person at his office, Islands Hospice in Honolulu at 820 Mililani Street, Suite 400.
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