Toy drive creates holiday spirit
Misty Kelly said her children couldn't wait to pick out toys at the store during the holiday shopping season.
"They have decided they want to get videogame stuff this year," she said. "Every year it's so exciting. They look over the aisles and take tons of time to pick out the right gift."
Kelly's children aren't shopping for themselves or for their friends. Instead, they're picking out toys to donate to the Mize Elementary School "Just Like Me" drive. The gifts will be donated to those in need through the De Soto Multi-Service Center. Throughout the week, students will bring brand-new toys. The school has a paper Christmas tree chart with a light bulb identifying each student who donated items.
Kelly, who is organizing the toy drive this year through the Mize PTA, said each year the students look forward to bringing something different.
"One Boy Scout troop donated a bike and there was a Girl Scout troop that made blankets," she said. "It was neat because there were some babies born that year that got a really cool blanket."
Mize fourth-graders Bethany Hunziker and Emily Hess brought toys Wednesday morning before school.
Emily said she had brought in several puzzles and games throughout the week.
"People don't get presents and we should give them presents so they have a good Christmas like us," she said.
Bethany said she hoped the toys would go to children who needed them.
"It's for people that don't get anything special for Christmas," she said. "I think it's nice to give them something and cheer them up."
Kelly said in previous years, the Mize toy drive filled three vanloads full of toys for needy children.
"It's unbelievable," she said. "My car is jam-packed. It's full top to bottom in every nook and cranny and it fills up the rooms in the De Soto Multi-Service Center."
Last year, the toy drive filled the entire stage in the Mize multi-purpose room. This year, they've moved into the library. Students bring stuffed animals, video games, board games, even wrapping paper and scissors so families can get a gift and wrap it for Christmas.
"They have everything they need to do their Christmas without a burden or strain on their family," Kelly said. "It's awesome to see the generosity and excitement of giving."