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Gibbons Middle School donates 1,000 toys

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Westborough - Dreams really do come true, especially during the Christmas season. Kate McComas, health teacher and Student Council advisor at Gibbons Middle School, thought it would be a good idea to do something to help others' dreams come true this holiday season.

"I decided to just start collecting toys," she said. "Someone can use them."

Little did she know that her idea to hold a toy drive would help fulfill the dreams and wishes of more than 1,300 children in need.

Sandy Denny, a seventhgrade teacher at Gibbons, heard about the drive and suggested to McComas a place to deliver the toys – the New England Dream Center (NEDC) in Worcester.

That place was the New England Dream Center (NEDC) in Worcester.

NEDC was started in 2006 by the Liberty Churches in Shrewsbury and Worcester as a faith-based social services outreach to help those struggling, addicted or in need. NEDC hosted this year's Dreams and Wishes program Dec. 15, providing gifts during a day of family togetherness for more than 1,300 children.

"We teamed with [Denny] and she was wonderful in helping make it possible," Mc- Comas said.

The Student Council and homerooms at Gibbons promoted the toy drive. It was listed on the school Web site and homeroom teachers displayed toys to motivate the kids, according to McComas. Assistant Principal Chris Fournier made an announcement every day to remind kids to bring in toys.

"We plugged it early, got it going. [The] Student Council was great about motivating the students," McComas said.

She estimated that more than 50 percent of the students brought in new, unwrapped toys, books, arts and crafts kits, stuff ed animals and baby toys.

At the end of the four-week drive, more than 1,000 toys and games had been collected. The Student Council recognized one homeroom from each grade level that collected the most toys and Deb Lamothe's eight-grade homeroom won with 157 toys. Some of her students helped pack the toys into the NEDC Hummer that arrived Dec. 12 to pick up the donations.

"Everybody was so great, from the custodians to the teachers," McComas said. "Everybody pulled through for me; it was great."

"It really caught on," Fournier said. "Staff brought in toys and games as well … What happens when you challenge the kids to think about others and make it something that the whole school can participate in, the enthusiasm is unbelievable.

"The kids at this age and in this community get so enthusiastic; their generosity is overwhelming," he added. "The generosity of the kids is also a reflection of the staff . This school has always been very compassionate."

Fournier and McComas agreed about what made the drive successful.

"The kids and their families were the ones that made it happen," McComas said. "It's not the idea of winning a prize; it's the idea of helping others. It's more about helping kids, not just about bringing toys."

Short URL: http://communityadvocate.com/?p=1467

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