The holiday season is a time when students expect to relax with their families and receive gifts, but the children in the HIV/AIDS ward of Elmhurst Children’s Hospital aren’t as lucky as the students in BSGE. Most of them are from low-income families, so their parents can’t afford to get them presents for the holidays.
BSGE’s Helping Hands’ Committee organizes the yearly toy drive to buy gifts for these children. In previous years each advisory has been assigned only one child to raise money for, but this year an advisory can have up to three. In order to meet their goal, the advisories raise money for their children, making sure that they get gifts they want for the winter holidays.
Bake sales have been producing money for the toy drive during every lunch period.Alice Aronov ‘18 explained that they are “the best way to raise money in our school because everyone buys” from them. She continued that they also give “a teamwork kind of initiative.” Ms. Meisler added, “[a] bake sale is always good because everyone can contribute something and everyone feels like they’re doing something for someone else.” Meril Mousoom 21’s advisory was assigned two boys, both in preschool. One wanted a Hot Wheels “Ultimate Garage” and the other a Captain America backpack. Bake sales allowed her advisory to raise $167 dollars and they “…currently have enough money to buy presents for the kids.”
Along with bake sales, there are donation boxes within each advisory that help raise money for the gifts. In past years there have also been raffles done to help each advisory meet its goal. This year, other advisories grew more creative in how they raised funds, such as 9-1, who decided to host a movie night screening Finding Dory. Most advisories aimed for $200.
While all those interviewed agreed that the toy drive is a good thing to have, some suggested how it can be improved in the future. Meril Mousoom 21’ said, “It would be nice and cute if we could have a letter from the kids saying ‘oh thank you…’ … for motivation.” Ms Meisler also suggested “trying to think of some other things aside from bake sales just to do some creative fundraising [and] trying to figure out some other ways to fundraise as opposed to taking donations so people feel more involved.”
The toy drive has been a success for all advisories and they’ve managed to reach their goals. Hopefully in future years advisories will continue to be as successful.