The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

The student news site of Smithson Valley High School in Spring Branch, Texas

Valley Ventana

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NJROTC hosts annual Toys for Tots drive

Bethany Mann
The Marine Corps Toys for Tots program was established in 1991 and is recognized as a non-profit organization.

The Navy Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps is hosting its annual Toys for Tots drive from Nov. 13 to Dec. 5.

Hosted nationally by the Marine Corps Reserve, NJROTC is one of many groups that collect toy donations.

“Toys for Tots is a way for people to give back to kids who are less fortunate and don’t get the opportunities that a lot of other people get,” senior Laynie Garza said. “It’s a way for us to show them that we care about them.”

This is the flyer to access the Amazon wish list. Graphic made by senior NJROTC member Briana Crosby.

This year, NJROTC created an Amazon wish list to give suggestions for toy donations. Through Amazon, people can order toys and ship them directly to the school.

“The ROTC cadets will go to the front of the school each day when the mail arrives, break down boxes, and bring them back (to the ROTC room),” NJROTC Chief Daniel Hansen said. “In mid-December, we’ll take it all to the Amazon warehouse near the (San Antonio) airport where they will be stored and distributed by the Marine Corp.”

Additionally, students can deliver toys directly to the NJROTC classroom in lower c-wing.

“You can bring (the toys) to the NJROTC room, to students in NJROTC, or to one of the instructors,” Garza said. “There are many ways to donate.”

Garza believes that having the Amazon wish list will help with receiving the proper toys.

“I think they have the wish list because kids were bringing stuff that they couldn’t give out because it was unwrapped, or it wasn’t safe,” she said. “This ensures that we are collecting toys we can actually give out.”

Bethany Mann
NJROTC Chief Daniel Hansen and senior Nia Hoppstaedter unbox the first toys delivered for the Toys for Tots drive.

NJROTC has collected donations for Toys for Tots for over six years, and senior Nia Hoppstaedter believes it is important that they continue to hold this drive.

“It’s important, especially during Christmas time, to think about those who aren’t as fortunate,” she said. “If you’re able to give back, even if it’s just a small toy, it’ll bring somebody joy, and I think it’s really great for someone to experience that.”

Garza agrees with Hoppstaedter and finds it very emotional knowing she is giving back to people who do not have as much.

“Christmas is a time, whether you are religious or not, to spend time with your family, and this is a big part of that,” she said. “It’s the gifts you give to someone that make it special. Even though they are not your family, even though you don’t really know them, it’s a really good thing to do.”

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