A pair of Superior High School seniors plan to brighten the holidays for their peers. Hannah Dudsic and Blake Arnovich will host a Toys for Tots fundraiser from 5-8 p.m. Friday, Dec. 6, at Aces on 29th, 2827 Oakes Ave. The kid-friendly event will include a visit from Santa, crafts, a 50/50 raffle, door prizes and more.
All money raised through the senior project will be used to buy gifts for teens.
“I’ve seen how lower-income families have been affected during the holiday time when they’re not getting what other children are getting,” Dudsic said.
When she was 10, she helped distribute toys through the program at the Superior Fire Department Headquarters. Some members of her family have also utilized Toys for Tots.
“I work at Cooper Elementary School. We have some lower-income families that have even come and say to me, ‘It means a lot,’” Dudsic said.
This is the second year in a row she has hosted a Toys for Tots event. Last year, her party at Aces on 29th raised $1,000 and a few SUV-loads of toys for the program.
“Blake and I were like, ‘Why don’t we make it bigger this year?’” Dudsic said. “And make a bigger impact for our community.”
The pair hope to double monetary donations. They’ve also set up drop-off boxes for toys at Cooper Elementary School, SHS and the Board Administration Office, 3025 Tower Ave. By Friday, Nov. 29, they had collected more than 50 toys. The drop boxes make the project more inclusive.
“It’s getting other students in our community involved in making this difference,” Dudsic said.
She hopes to make the Toys for Tots fundraiser an annual event at Aces on 29th.
Toys for the smallest patients
A kindergarten student at Four Corners Elementary School is also hosting a toy drive. For Gavin Johnstad, it’s a chance to provide activities for children at St. Luke’s Pediatric Center.
Johnstad will be collecting gently used toys, coloring books, craft and art supplies, yarn and hooks for crochet or knitting, board games for any age, fleece for blanket-making, books, DVDs, playing cards, bubbles, pinwheels, stuffed animals (washed or spot-cleaned), Play-Doh and batteries.
During a recent stay at St. Luke’s Pediatric Center, Johnstad was sad because they didn’t have a lot of toys for kids to play with while they were there, so the kindergartener decided to get them some.
The toy drive kicks off this week and runs through Dec. 18. It fits a schoolwide theme.
“We have talked about focusing on being a giving-based community this year,” said Ellen Chicka, parent involvement coordinator at Four Corners.
The school recently wrapped up a Thanksgiving food drive. They collected a stove-sized box of food that was distributed to food shelves the last week of November.
“I am so proud of our students and families,” Chicka said. “They are generous and caring about others and our community, and I'm impressed with the support for others that are in need.”
Toys, games and other items can be dropped off at Four Corners Elementary School.