by: SPOTLIGHT PHOTO: ROBIN JOHNSON - Scappoose Middle School eighth-graders Jackson Burum (left) and Zack Dickerson (right), stand next to a decorated tree of books and a table full of toys donated by their peers. The Scappoose Rural Fire District will see a boost in its toy drive donations this month due to the generosity of local youth.

Scappoose Middle School students began contributing to the SRFD’s Share and Care toy drive Monday, Dec. 2. The drive kicked off with a school assembly geared toward hyping up students to give back to their community.

“We’re focusing on keeping it in Columbia County,” said Michelle Stofiel, educational assistant with Scappoose Middle School. “We want to show the community we have great kids and a great school, and when we give them a challenge, this is what can happen.”

This will be the school’s first toy drive, but Stofiel said she hopes to make it an annual event. Stofiel added that, aside from encouraging the students to participate in charitable acts, the drive will give the school community something to look forward to for the holiday season.

As far as the toys, Stofiel said the school is focused on the middle school age group since the SRFD tends to struggle with receiving donations for those ages.

“We told the kids to get creative,” she said.

Stofiel said one student on Wednesday used half of her Christmas money she was alotted by family to purchase 14 toys for the school’s drive.

Currently, Stofiel said the school has no fundraising goal, but has already been successful in its efforts. “Since it’s the first year, we’re mostly evaluating,” she said.

Daily collections will be received until the drive concludes Monday, Dec. 16. The toys will be presented to the fire department at a morning assembly that day.

Stofiel said seven students brought toys into the school’s library on the first day of the drive and, including a cash donation to the effort, the school already had 44 toys by Tuesday, Dec. 3.

So far, Stofiel said, students have been donating items such as board games, Rubik’s cubes, CDs and more. Stofiel added that all the toys donated to the school, and subsequently to the fire department, will stay in the county to benefit local families in need.

The school is also holding a canned food drive in unison with the toy drive, Stofiel said. The food drive, is slated to run through Dec. 20.

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