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Students Making Santa’s Nice List in Eugene – Handing out Toys for Tots

The holiday spirit is all around Oregon! High school students in Eugene are experiencing the gift of giving this year. The best part? They gave up part of their Saturday morning to do it. A group of eight students from Willamette Leadership Academy volunteered with the Lane County Toys for Tots program this weekend.

Toys For Tots Volunteers

One of the volunteers, 14-year-old Brighton Robertson, said: “Doing this sort of stuff helps out the community and its’s a nice thing to do. I don’t know why you wouldn’t do it.”

The Marine Toys for Tots has been a highly ranked charity group for years. Every year, they collect new, unwrapped toys and give them out to less fortunate children during Christmas. It has been an extremely successful program throughout the country.

In the Eugene-Springfield area, there were almost 20,000 toys given to families this weekend. This number comes from the Lane County Toys for Tots program. The students from Willamette helped distribute some of this large number of gifts.  

Another one of these student volunteers, 13-year-old Isaiah Alvord, said: “I wanted to volunteer because I knew it would make a lot of children happy and actually have gifts for Christmas, and I just wanted to be a part of that.” He also said that he had experienced a Christmas without gifts in the past.

Children Helping Save Christmas

But, the Lane County Toys for Tots program actually experienced a shortage in donations this year. By mid-December, they have usually received 15,000 toys.

This year, they only had about half that. So, another group of students, these from Madison Middle School, helped out when they found out about this. They donated hand-made model planes to the organization. After that, they helped spread the word about the need for donations.

A program director at Willamette, Kate Klontz, was surprised by how many students signed up to volunteer. She said: “I didn’t make an announcement or anything, I just put the sign-up sheet outside my door and was surprised at how many students were interested. I think it’s important to have the cadets volunteer to give their time to others, but also to get out there in the community and let people know we’re here.”

So, it seems that these students are full of the Christmas spirit this year. And because of them, many children in Eugene got to experience the joy of the season as well!

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