Students at Heritage Elementary School collected more than 350 toys in support of the Saline Area Fire Department’s Toys for Tots campaign, which concludes Sunday.
The Heritage school drive was spearheaded by the school’s leadership club.
Fifth grade student Andrew Miller is the president of Heritage Leadership Club. He explained why students were so successful at collecting toys.
“Kids get stuff for Christmas and it’s fun to get toys for Christmas. Other kids don’t get any toys for Christmas,” Miller said. “We wanted to collect toys to give those kids a surprise and make them excited and have fun this Christmas.”
Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Turner oversees the leadership club with Allison Peet. She was impressed by the students’ campaign.
“The students were very enthusiastic. They knew they were going to be helping needy kids in Saline and Washtenaw County,” Turner said. “This is a great group of kids. They’re sensitive and caring and helping others is important to them.”
The toy drive was also a competition between fourth and fifth grade students. Fourth graders collected 190 toys and fifth graders collected about 160. As a reward for winning the competition, fourth graders will be allowed to wear pajamas to school one day next week.
Fire Chief Craig Hoeft and Lt. Dan Speicher arrived to collect the toys. Hoeft said he was impressed by the Heritage students’ collection.
“That’s one of the biggest donations we’ve ever seen,” Hoeft said. “It’s great to see kids learning how to help others in the community.”
The fire department’s Toys for Tots campaign provides toys for about 150 children served by Saline Area Social Service. The remainder of the toys are given to the Washtenaw County Toys for Tots program for distribution around the county.
Toys can be donated at any Saline Area Schools building or at the fire department.
Students in the leadership club are Ryan Notar, Tommy Endres, Marie Laurio, Brady Sattler, Grace Oberski, Nathanyel Sarment, Mikayla Lewis, Maddie Finocchiaro, Braiden Scheffler, Zachary Fritz, Sydney Becker, Josh Burlingame, Devin Lilley, Rebekah Miars,Neah Bloch, Kate Aeschliman, Victoria Weeden, Adyson Naebeck, Andrew Miller, Nora McGillicuddy, Mallory Platzer, Nicky Steiner, Claudia Suciu, Maddie Nishioka, Cate Klein, Lelaina MacDonald, Colin Learman and Landon Richter.