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Avon Old Farms Helps Put Gifts Under Children's Christmas Trees

The Avon boarding school had its Toys for Tots drive before holiday break, working with Hands on Hartford.

Stephen Thibault ’16 shopping for toys at Target. Credit: Avon Old Farms School
Stephen Thibault ’16 shopping for toys at Target. Credit: Avon Old Farms School
Three decades ago, Avon Old Farms School faculty members donated toys to an Avon car dealership now known as Sullivan's O'Neills Chevrolet Buick. 

Then they got the students involved. Over time, the school's toy drive has become the all-boys private boarding school's "largest and must profitable community effort" annually, "often raising in excess of $10,000," according to a press release from the school.

Avon Old Farms donates toys collected in the Toys for Tots drive to Hands on Hartford,  "a local organization that provides direct services to people in need," the release said. 

Students body warden Mickoy Nichol, who will graduate in 2014 and worked with the Student Council to organize this year's campaign, set out to "raise the most money for Toys for Tots in school history.”  

“During the holiday season, it is great for a school community that has so much to give to those that are less fortunate,” Mickoy said in a statement. “I know what it feels like to not get a present on Christmas morning... and I would hate for these kids to feel that way…so the more money we raise, the more toys we’ll be able to afford for the children!”

And Mickoy more than accomplished his goal. The school community raised $15,055 for Toys for Tots and the boys went to a local Target to shop for toys for the children. 

Development Manager Kate Shafer addressed the students before the holidays and said that "180 families in Hartford County" would receive gifts in time for Christmas. 

At the same morning meeting, students and faculty names were selected for a school-wide prize drawing organized by the Student Council and made possible by donations from staff, as well as "parents, alumni, friends and local businesses," according to a press release. 

Proceeds from ticket sales for the raffle and other school fundraising events like the "Toys for Tots dance, a school-wide dodge ball tournament, the annual Italian Dinner, and a student-faculty basketball game" went "toward a shopping trip the night before" students went on break. 

"Faculty and student volunteers travel to a local Target store and comb the aisles for toys, games, sporting goods, and winter weather necessities such as coats, hats, gloves, and boots, all paid for using the proceeds from the Toys for Tots drive," the press release stated. "After their trip, the volunteers display all of the purchased items on the stage in the Brown Auditorium, where it greets the school community at the last morning meeting of the year before vacation. Seeing the efforts of two weeks of hard work and dedication to the cause bolsters everyone in attendance with a boost of holiday cheer."

Students and faculty helped deliver the toys to children at the Hands on Hartford annual Christmas party.

"Parents come in and select Christmas gifts for their unknowing children, who are waiting nearby at a fun, festive gathering, with music, snacks, crafts, and other activities," the press release stated. "Community service remains one of the pillars of life at Avon Old Farms, and during the holidays, all members of the Avon family enjoy being able to make an important difference in the lives of those less fortunate, and help put gifts under a child’s Christmas tree."

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