UT brings the toys for 22nd year

Posted by on December 19, 2017 with 0 Comments

The 22nd annual field trip for the US Marine Toys For Tots drive was an amazing success. This year upwards of fifty students and eight chaperones from UTHS volunteered to help over the course of two nights. (Photo by Laura Gerardo)

by Laura Gerardo

The 22nd annual field trip for the US Marine Toys For Tots drive was an amazing success. This year upwards of fifty students and eight chaperones from UTHS volunteered to help over the course of two nights.

The US Marine Toys For Tots program is a wonderful organization that helps bring the joy of Christmas gifts to lower income families in the Quad Cities. UT driver’s education teacher Mr. Brad Burklund began bringing students to help buy and sort the toys because “It’s a great experience each year to expose the next generation to the art of caring and giving by them getting a chance to see the whole process; from them purchasing it to filling an order out and realizing that those bags represent a family–over 10,000 kids.”

Mr. Burklund continued, “Many kids have mentioned that they were recipients of toys for tots and they wanted the opportunity to ’pay back’ what they had received.”

The students volunteers seem to agree as Chance Darby, a five-year participant, explained, “I like helping families in the quad cities and being able to help the kids get their toys.”

Liz Corral, a three year “veteran” elaborated,“This is a great way to give back to our community.”

Ouleymata Ba, a first year volunteer, added,“I just want to help the kids that are in need.”

With the great effort put forth by all the volunteers, 250 families’ orders were filled and processed over the span of four hours between the two field trips. This holiday season a record $5,500 worth of toys were donated to the US Marine Corps Toys For Tots program thanks to the significant efforts of the UTHS student body and the generosity of Mr. Ron Fritz at Farm and Fleet.

Mr. Burklund added,“This is by far the best large toy purchase we have ever donated. Now they feel like they are actually getting gifts that kids will be excited to open on Christmas”

According to Mr. Burklund, “I don’t do this myself, it is, and always has been, a group effort.”  He was especially grateful for the help of Mrs. Golding, Mrs. Woods, Mrs. Mital, Mrs. Pustelnik, Ms. Enburg, Mrs. Leach, and all past volunteers for chaperoning and making these eye-opening field trips possible.

Though he has been running this trip for 22 years, he is still looking forward to next year.  As Mr. Burklund puts it, “We can continue to do this far into the future.”

 

(See the photo gallery from the second night on www.facebook.com/uthsnews)

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