For the last three weeks, a group of St. Francis Middle School students have been working hard bring holiday joy to kids their own age.
They collected athletic equipment, beauty items, iPods and other items to donate to the Toys for Joy and Toys for Tots programs with a schoolwide toy drive.
“There are a lot of kids our age that don’t get a lot on Christmas morning,” said Bryanna Blodgett.
With student council approval Blodgett, who came up with the idea with friend Taylor Thull, and the nearly 25 students in her eighth-grade study hall planned the school’s first toy drive.
Working with teacher Paula Jo Davis, the students learned about the gifts program and how it works.
“We found out that they don’t get a lot of toys for eighth-graders,” said Camille Zupfer, student council president and drive organizer.
The donations collected by the middle school will allow parents to select items for their middle school kids, rather than picking a toy for a younger child, she said.
The 180 items were send to the Anoka Armory for north Anoka County families in need to pick up Dec. 19-20, said Davis.
Ninety kids will benefit from this drive, she said.
Blodgett said she wished they had been able to collect 200 items.
“I would have liked to help more,” she said.
This will make a lot of kids happy on Christmas, said classmate Ally Mathwig.
If she got up on Christmas morning and found nothing under the tree, Mathwig said she would feel bad.
This keeps other kids from feeling bad, she said.
The drive could benefit the person could be sitting next to them and they would never know, Blodgett said.
It also gave a lot of kids in eighth grade time to thing about what it would mean to them to have no gifts and gave them a chance to help other kids, she said.
One boy even collected donations from his neighbors and donated $109, she said.
Tammy Sakry is at firstname.lastname@example.org