Students at United Township High School in East Moline are helping the Toys for Tots Program... and have done so for the last 17 years.
On Tuesday, December 4th, 2012, nearly 30 students grabbed carts at Blain's Farm & Fleet in Moline and took over the aisles of TOYLAND for a speedy shopping spree. The group picked up nearly $2,000 worth of books, board games, and toys for the more than 9,000 children enrolled in the Quad Cities' Toys for Tots Program.
The tradition is in its 17th year. It started with Mr. Brad Burklund, a Drivers Education Instructor at U.T., who saw a need in the community and also in the classroom.
"Students wanted to feel like they could make a difference and I still remember a few examples of students going through some hard times and this was a way for them to get a chance to help and pay back something that they may have received," says Mr. Burklund. "They're not getting anything in regards to bonus points for their work. They're getting it out of the goodness of their heart."
After the shopping trip, the students filled the bus with their bags and drove to the Toys for Tots Distribution Center in Downtown, Rock Island.
"It teaches them a little bit of responsibility," says Toys for Tots Volunteer and Marine, Jerry Thurman. "Not everybody is fortunate enough to get something for Christmas. "The need this year is greater, because the economy is worse."
There is still time to donate, but not much. Collection boxes will be picked up no later than Monday, December 10th. You can find a complete list of box locations here. Volunteers say they still need gifts for children six months to two years old and 10 to 12 years old.
For more stories and information on Toys for Tots, click here.