Winnetka Tots Learn the Meaning of Christmas
“Some little girls don’t get any bows for their hair, so I have to give them some for Christmas to help Santa” said Mary Kate La Fontaine age 2, when asked why her school Harkness House for Children was taking part in the ‘Toys for Tots’ Program.
The mission of the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots Program is to collect new, unwrapped toys during October, November and December each year, and distribute those toys as Christmas gifts to less fortunate children in the community in which the campaign is conducted.
This year, Harkness House for Children, the daycare and preschool at 630 Lincoln Avenue in Winnetka, decided to take part in the ‘Toys for Tots’ program to teach the 63 kids they care for why it is so important to give to children less fortunate than themselves.
Each child at the school was taken shopping by their parents and asked to pick out a toy worth over $10, that they would really like for themselves this Christmas and then donate it to a child who won’t get any presents this Christmas. Each child put their toy in the special ‘Toys for Tots’ collection bins outside their classroom, which were then collected by the Chicago Marines on Tuesday December 11th.
The result was 84 toys donated, worth over $1000.
“I want all the little boys and girls who Santa might not have enough toys for to get presents, so I have given a car and a game and won’t take them home but give them to the Marines” said Ewan Walnes, age 3, in the Junior Explorers class at Harkness House.
When collecting the toys from the school, the Marines took the time to explain to the 2-6 year olds what they would do with the toys and why their contribution is so important to the community.
“We want all our kids from the baby room to Junior Kindergarten to learn the vital life lesson about helping other children, just like them, who otherwise won’t get any gifts this Christmas. Taking part in ‘Toys for Tots’ benefits everyone involved and is a vital and fantastic program” said Patti Ruffin, Executive Director at the school.
“We wanted to donate a wide range of high value toys for both boys and girls of all ages, so that we could make the biggest difference we could, to the kids that the Chicago Marines reach. The babies donated rattles and activity centers, the toddlers donated princesses and games, the 2 year olds donated cars and sets of Lego sets, and the 3-6 year olds mainly gave sports games”, said Tricia Dupilka, parent and organizer of the ‘Toys for Tots’ program at the school.
Christmas is about giving and what better way to teach your kids this and spread the joy, than taking part in the ‘Toys for Tots’ program.