WORTHINGTON - The Worthington High School student body will again make sure underprivileged area youths will have something to smile about this Christmas season.

During this week’s edition of a long-standing tradition, students scrambled between extended passing periods to scope out their treat of choice in what could be categorized as a hallway mini market. Students quickly pulled money out of their pockets, handed it over, scooped up their snack and were on their way, all before the next bell rang.

Sponsored by the WHS student council, the Toys for Tykes event is an annual outreach project that raises money through food sales to provide toys to hundreds of needy children selected to receive a gift through the Community Christmas Baskets program.

Community Christmas Baskets committee chairperson Janelle Johnson said she’s sure the program wouldn’t be able to raise the funds necessary to ensure each child gets a quality toy without the assistance from the high school.

“It’s no small project,” she said. “The high school sees that there’s a toy for every child.”

Last year, Johnson said, the school purchased toys for 650 children.

The school doesn’t just raise the money necessary to fund the toys - its students also shop for them.

According to WHS Student Council Advisor Zach Brandt, the Community Christmas Baskets committee sends the council a detailed shopping list that identifies how many boys’ and girls’ toys are necessary. The list also categorizes the ages of the children.

“(Student council members) take a couple days after school and go to Walmart and Shopko and shop away,” Brandt said.

Johnson said the student council also helps tremendously by volunteering time during distribution day to help kids pick out their gifts.

Brandt said the annual project is a positive opportunity for students.

“We’re very purposeful that we tell students we do this not so we can have a treat in the middle of the day, but so that we can buy toys for kids that maybe wouldn’t get something for toys otherwise,” he said. “I think this gets the whole school motivated to go buy something.”