For a week before December 11, the high school participated in a toy collection to support the U.S. Marine’s Toys For Tots drive. Coordinated by Karson and Kennedy, two radio hosts from Boston’s local station Mix 104.1, this drive aimed to collect 10,000 toys in total, but their ultimate goal was to reach last year’s record of 14,000 toys.

The toys collected will be given to kids around the Greater Boston area. A former Marine will organize them and help to send them out to children.

“The organization separates the toys by year and type and parents who need the help are able to apply. They give their wish list of things they are looking for and the organization packs those things up to them,” said Mix 104.1 host Kennedy Elsey.

Students were instructed to bring new, unwrapped toys to their advisory. They have since been compiled and collected by Kennedy and brought to the Toys For Tots collection.

The high school competed against three other schools for the highest number of toys collected. WHS is the only high school in the competition, as the other participants are two elementary schools in Charlestown and Marshfield and a middle school in Quincy.

Karson and Kennedy began coordinating their drive five years ago when they noticed an opportunity to help the community.  

“It started because a man who had been collecting toys up in the North Shore had collected around 700 toys to give away to kids in his neighborhood and the storage unit got broken into and all the toys were stolen,” said Kennedy.

“We thought, ‘let’s help’, so we put a box in the North Shore mall for five hours and came back with thousands of toys for this guy,” Kennedy said. She attributed this show of support to their decision to continue this collection annually.

“Even just one toy counts,” said Kennedy. “If everyone at Wellesley High School brought one toy we would make a humongous difference this holiday season.”

After a slow start and some lighthearted criticism from the hosts of Mix 104.1, the high school exceeded their original goal of 2,000 toys. The school’s winter concert eliminated ticket sales in favor of requesting that each attendee donate a toy and many community service oriented clubs awarded service hours for donations.

This number surpassed those of the other schools and Wellesley won the competition, however, Diane Zinck says that in the long run the best part of the experience was seeing the members of the community “step up to help others for the holidays.”

According to Zinck, “The custodians who picked up our toys told me it was the largest delivery to a single place they had seen this year.”


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