Oak Mountain Middle students raise more than $20,000 for Toys for Tots

Published 11:53 am Thursday, December 8, 2022

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor

NORTH SHELBY – As they rummaged through Walmart along U.S. 280 in North Shelby County, students from Oak Mountain Middle Schools loaded shopping carts with stuffed animals, games, sporting equipment, toys and so much more on Wednesday, Dec. 7.

It was a poetic sight, reminiscent of the Grinch, as they tossed item after item into the buggies, only their hearts were already the size they needed to be.

The students, who were put of a fundraising effort at OMMS, were picking out items to share with veterans for Toys for Tots later that afternoon after they surpassed their $20,000 goal this holiday season.

“This is a great pleasure for us all to join together now as we celebrate once again achieving a major goal with Toys for Tots,” OMMS Principal Larry Haynes said. “Students, y’all have done a good job, you’ve brought in a ton of money, our NJHS students have gone out and shopped and brought home toys that will make a difference. For that, I am very proud, because this is the total meaning of what Christmas is all about—celebrating the greatest gift by giving gifts.”

During the ceremony, multiple members of the school’s National Junior Honor Society spoke and highlighted the special achievement of the students, faculty and so many more.

The school raised $20,100 during their fundraising efforts, while eighth grade collecting $8,805.58, seventh grade collecting $3,355.70 and sixth grade collecting $2,337.09 in addition to other help.

“Some of you really went the extra mile to make this possible,” Haynes said.

With the money raised, 125 members of the NJHS went through Walmart trying to find the perfect toys for kids so they would have them to open on Christmas morning.

“Thanks to everyone’s hard work and willingness to give, hundreds of children in our area will wake up to gifts on Christmas morning,” one of the NJHS members said during the ceremony. “In fact, we were able to purchase 2,192 toys this morning. It is our sincerest wish that these toys will not merely represent material needs, but that they will bring joy and hope to those in need.”

During the presentation and celebration later that day, the students presented the toys to the U.S. Marine Corps representatives in attendance, who will get them to Toys for Tots in time for the holiday season.

The marine representatives in attendance were grateful for the thoughtfulness and said the work put in by the school is amazing every year to help make a difference in the lives of children during the holiday season.

“I know a lot of you probably aren’t aware so much, but this is a major drive of the United States Marine Corps every Christmas season to help children all over the nation to have a Christmas,” Haynes said. “There are so many children in our own country who do not have the funds to really be able to get the gifts at Christmas, so we are so grateful to our marines who take on this responsibility to make it a special Christmas for children.”

Money was raised through cash and online donations, and the school as a whole has now raised more than $600,000 for Toys for Tots since it started more than 20 years ago.

“None of this would be possible without our OMMS students, faculty and community working together to provide for those in need,” said the NJHS. “Thanks to each one of you for making Christmas wishes come true for hundreds of children in need this year.”