HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Over 200 children helped the U.S. Marines kick off this year’s Toys for Tots program in Huntington on Thursday.

Retired Major Chuck Kilbride said last year they collected about a half million toys in Nassau County alone.

1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera reports

“Obviously from the economic conditions in the country we have a greater need than ever before,” Kilbride told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera. “New Yorkers are the most generous, caring, sharing people on the planet.”

Kilbride said the U.S. Marine Corps. Toys for Tots program has become the prototype across the country and is billed as the largest holiday gift program for children.

WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs reports

The toys will find their way to needy children over the holidays.

“That newly wrapped gift gives that child hope,” Gunnery Sgt. Steve Covington told WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs. “I’m excited to be a part of it. It’s not about how much we collect, putting a smile on a child’s face, that’s what matters.”

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