WHS students honored for $5,500 contribution to Toys for Tots
In 2019, 160 kids registered to receive toys through the program, and since then, the numbers have gone up every year.
WORTHINGTON — Just as local needs have increased, Worthington High School students have risen to meet those needs, raising $5,500 for the local U.S. Marine Corps Toys for Tots campaign this year.
That’s the most the students have brought in for the project since the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic forced them to put their efforts on hold for a time — and it’s also the largest donation made this year, with Walmart holding the previous record of $3,000, said Dan Harrington, local Toys for Tots campaign coordinator.
It’s a simple program, designed so that children who likely wouldn’t otherwise receive presents will find gifts with their name on them under the tree on Christmas morning. Parents register for the program, which does have certain income requirements, and then pick up their children’s presents on a designated day.
WHS students were honored with a plaque thanking them for their efforts on Wednesday, Harrington shaking hands with members of the WHS Student Council that organized the fundraiser. He also invited them to participate in the distribution event, set for Dec. 13-15 at The Max in Worthington.
In 2019, 160 kids registered to receive toys through the program, and since then, the numbers have gone up every year, now reaching 1,200 children with nearly 5,000 Christmas gifts.
Given that each child receives three to four toys costing around $20 each, the WHS students provided presents for nearly 300 children, mainly through a multiple-week fundraising effort led by the WHS Student Council.
Student volunteers sell smoothies, juices and snacks to raise money, said WHS Student Council member Lilly Mahlberg.
During passing time, students purchase the items, including larger food items like waffles — and due to snow days, the fundraiser stretched out a little longer this year.
Teachers help, too, selling stickers, buttons and even passes that allow students to get out of detention — though the number of passes kids can buy is limited.
WHS has been doing the fundraiser since the late 1990s, said Heather Knigge, WHS art teacher and Student Council adviser.