Oak Mountain Middle School breaks national Toys for Tots record again

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Students from Oak Mountain Middle School have once again broken a national record for the largest school donation to Toys for Tots.

This year, students raised more than $42,000 for the program, which provides Christmas gifts to the underprivileged. The amount exceeds the previous record of $35,335, donated by the school last year.

Bill Grein, national vice-president of the Toys for Tots Foundation, said Oak Mountain’s continued generosity is quite impressive.

&8220;I need to sign those kids up to be fundraisers on the national level,&8221; said Grien. &8220;I am truly impressed with their hard work and dedication at such a young age. &8220;

The Toys for Tots drive is a project of the school’s National Junior Honor Society, but almost all students participate in the fundraising. Principal Larry Haynes said students find creative ways to raise money each year &045; doing odd jobs, donating their allowances and sacrificing items from their own Christmas wish list so that parents can instead donate to the toy drive.

Honor society members will take the money and purchase toys at the Toys-R-Us in Hoover on Dec. 15. According to store director Keven Ozment, Toys-R-Us will match the OMMS donation toy-for-toy.

The toys will then be transported back to the Oak Mountain for a school-wide assembly. Sgt. Chris Dahrens, local Marine coordinator for Toys for Tots, said he expected to bring as many as six five-ton transport vehicles in order to pick up all the toys.

&8220;I have lived in other places in the United States and coordinated other Toys for Tots drives, but I have never seen anything that compares to what Oak Mountain Middle School does.&8221; Dahrens said.

Oak Mountain

has raised more than $168,000 for the program since 1999