INSIDE TOYS FOR TOTS

Students contribute to local holiday charity

INSIDE+TOYS+FOR+TOTS

Ciena Christensen, Web Editor

Students have significantly contributed to the local Toys for Tots program throughout the numerous years of Sandpoint High School’s involvement.

In 2005, National Honor Society (NHS) introduced the Toys for Tots program to the school due to its association with the Lions Club, Sandpoint’s organizer and sponsor of Toys for Tots. This first year the club raised over $200. After Wendy Auld became the NHS adviser in 2008, the school was fundraising around $2,670, and once the fundraiser was incorporated as part of Moose Madness in 2013, the amount increased to about $7,669. As the fundraiser continued,  the school contributed about $8,167 in 2015 and about $6,936 in 2016, not including toys or checks that were made out to Toys for Tots.

The president of the Lions Club, Judy Dabrowski, has seen the significant impact of the school and students throughout her nine year involvement.

“You guys [students] have been a marvelous partner with us. The money you’ve come up with has been amazing and I’m always impressed with what you do,” Dabrowski said.

Each Christmas the Lions Club provides toys and food boxes for members of the community whose children otherwise wouldn’t be able to receive toys or enjoy a full Christmas meal. Many students have taken the opportunity to volunteer in addition to raising money through the high school’s December fundraiser.

Junior River Feuling was introduced to the Toys for Tots program through her participation in Student Council and NHS. She volunteered at the toy buy last year and felt lucky to have this opportunity to aid in the community and help children enjoy the holidays.

“The school’s and students’ involvement has made an impact on the program, not only for the kids who receive the gifts or the adults who put it on, but also on the students who volunteer. It opens students’ eyes to all the children who aren’t as lucky as they are, and it gives them a chance to make a kid smile and that is a really good feeling,” Feuling said.

Additionally, senior Grace Johnson assisted with the Toys for Tots program last year by handing out toys and hopes to volunteer again this year.

“I enjoyed the gratitude that people expressed when you helped them shop and checkout. It was really neat to see what a nice impact it had on these individuals,” Johnson said.

Johnson has enjoyed being able to give back to the community during the holidays and witness the rewarding experience of connecting with those in the community.

Since this program brings community members together during the holidays and makes a difference in children’s lives, Dabrowski hopes the Lions Club can move forward with the fundraiser and their partnership with the high school.

“I’m always amazed at how generous our community is and how much money they give to all the charities in the area. We would like to be able to successfully continue with this program for as long as we can,” Dabrowski said.