WHS Hosts Toys 4 Tots Drive


Courtney Nottebart

Toys collected in a classroom at WHS.

Greg Tsougas, Staff Writer

Toys 4 Tots is a program of the United States Marine Corps that provides gifts to children whose parents cannot afford to buy them presents for the holiday. Across cities and towns in the United States, community toy drives are being held by Toys 4 Tots.

At Walpole High School, Student Council began a school-wide toy drive for less fortunate children in the Norfolk area. Children’s toys and games filled drive bins in the lobby and various areas throughout the school. Kerry McMenimen, Walpole High School’s Student Council advisor, helped run the toy drive at WHS. For this year’s toy drive, WHS Student Council competed against Norwood High School’s Student Council to collect the highest amount of toys. 

“Toys 4 Tots is a great cause that many schools participate in throughout the country, so we really wanted to make an effort to be a part of something so beneficial to society,” Student Council Vice President Sarah St. George said. “Also, it’s almost Christmas time, meaning that it’s a great time to do some giving,” 

The Toys 4 Tots program allowed all students at WHS to give during the Christmas season. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 15 million children in the United States live on incomes below the federal poverty threshold. Often, these children do not receive gifts for the holidays. Through the toy drive at WHS, students have the opportunity to supply underprivileged children in local areas with toys, games and electronic gifts. 

“The drive has been very successful and we’ve seen a lot of participation from students and faculty alike. I think Toys 4 Tots is a great cause for underprivileged kids, and I’m so glad the Walpole community is a part of it,” St. George said. 

Student Council has participated in other Christmas drives before; in earlier years, Student Council hosted Spaghetti with Santa and other fundraisers to collect toys for children. Teacher Courtney Nottebart and school nurse Rachel Jackson promoted the drive throughout the Walpole community. The pair held toy drives at various community events and encouraged students and families to donate to WHS’s toy drive through Twitter and Facebook. 

“This year Nottebart approached me about doing a bigger drive throughout the school. She actually is the force behind this year’s drive,” McMenimen said. “She collected toys at sporting events including the Thanksgiving football game. Nottebart and Jackson promoted the drive on social media as well.”

The toy drive was successful at WHS, as the bins throughout the school were filled with toys that would be delivered to children across the state for the holiday. Some Student Council members believe that the rivalry between NHS and WHS contributed to the success of the toy drive. 

“I think the competition made the drive much more successful. Walpole and Norwood have always had a rivalry in sports, so I think that rivalry made people want to participate more than they would in a typical toy drive,” Student Council President Andrea Wilber said. 

Although NHS students beat WHS students for the highest amount of toys donated, McMenimen is satisfied with the results of the drive.

“Walpole High collected 606 toys and Norwood High 1300 toys. We met Student Council’s goal of collecting 500 toys, and we know how to improve for next year,” McMenimen said. “I couldn’t be more satisfied by the results.”