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Students Host Toy Drive at MHS

MHS Instruction Assistant Katrina Philips, left, and senior Angelica Zoppe show off some of the donated toys. Photo by Savannah Yefchak.
After more than 300 people were displaced by the July floods, Montpelier High School (MHS) senior Angelica Zoppe was inspired to do something. So in October she started a toy drive for central Vermont children through Club Interact, an extracurricular club focused on service to the community. 

“The holidays are a time to give back and think about others,” Zoppe said. “Given the recent events with the flood, people have lost a lot and are still trying to find the funds to rebuild and at the same time are also trying to give children a good holiday.”

Donations have been coming into the school since October and will be collected Dec. 13. It takes time to get the toys to distributors and for distributors to get the toys out to families before the holidays, according to Katrina Philips, Club Interact supervisor and instructional assistant at MHS. Collection boxes are located in the front lobby and gym lobby at the high school.

Club Interact is running the MHS toy drive through Toys for Tots, a project of the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve. 

“The primary goal of the Toys for Tots Foundation is to play an active role in the development of one of our nation’s most valuable resources, our children ….” according to the Toys for Tots website. 

 “Even though we try to have all the toys distributed one to two weeks before Christmas, I stay on call on Christmas eve in case there’s a fire and a family in need of extra toys,” said Daniel Duffy, a coordinator of the Toys for Tots Foundation in Berlin. Toy donations have been slow so far, Duffy said, but he said he hopes more donations start coming in over the next few weeks of the holiday season.

“Giving to children in need has always been a need and hope, but over the past tragedies of this year, many children have been left unhoused, and many families are struggling to pay the bills and they don’t have enough extra money to buy presents this holiday season,” said Duffy. 

Families in need of toys can apply online. Toys for Tots will arrange for pick up with individual families. Toys for Tots does not have specific rules for toy donations, says the Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots website, but they ask people to donate gifts they would find appropriate to give to their own children or relatives. Donations with guns, war themes, or candy will not be distributed. Donations can be dropped off at Montpelier High School, or at the Toys for Tots headquarters located at 1400 U.S. Route 302 in Berlin.

Savannah Yefchak is a Montpelier High School student intern at The Bridge.