The Cradles to Crayons toy drive has come to Andover High, and with the support of the student body, many underprivileged children will have a happy holiday season.

Bright letters sprawled on the dusty brown cardboard, the matte container holds numerous boxes and each pile atop each other like children’s blocks. This bin is a delightful sight as students make the trudge up the stairs to morning classes. Bags spill over the edge, like foam from a coffee cup. The froth is beginning to outgrow its boundaries, and its contents are like that expensive Starbucks we so often enjoy. The bright box has brought about a spurt of holiday cheer, and it is all thanks to the students representing the Cradles to Crayons Organization.

The splashes of rainbow block text appear around each corner of the hallway. Painted onto doors, pinned onto bulletin boards and scattered about the whole school, the CTC posters have caught the eyes of many students. Sophie Baird, a senior, said she “heard about the toy drive through the announcements before school, and the posters that have been hung up promoting donations.”  Advocating for student participation and educating the school in regards to the length of the drive, these flyers are informative to the student body.

A group of AHS students have organized a toy drive for Cradles to Crayons, a grassroots charity, to gather items for children in need. Based in Philadelphia and Boston, the organization’s website said its mission is to “help kids in poverty: kids who don’t have shoes that fit, or a cot warm enough to fend off the winter winds, or a backpack to take their books and supplies to and from school.” A collection box has been placed at the foot of the stairs in the foyer, the new focal point of the space.

Rhea Singh, the leader of the group, contacted CTC and initiated another drive our school has done for the organization. Singh, who inherited the position from last years leaders, joined with a few of her friends. An active member of the club both freshman and sophomore year, Singh said that “it is very easy to get involved, we meet every other Wednesday at 7:20 in room 326. It’s a very relaxed club, full of kids who just want to make a difference in the community.” The group is promoting acts of holiday kindness in order to “supply these items free of charge by engaging and connecting communities that have with communities that need.” These items are essential for children so that they can “thrive–at home, at school and at play” Singh says.

Some trends that are emerging in the donation box are board games such as Sorry! and Monopoly, as well as various school supplies. The group is looking for any “gently used toys in good condition, such as Barbies, toy trucks, or blocks. However, we cannot take any used stuffed animals.” Singh said.

The box is growing in size, and donations will be accepted through the month of November. Everyone is encouraged to participate, whether their contribution is large or small. As a particularly affluent community, AHS could provide a lot of items to hundreds of impoverished children living so close to our town. Although it may seem trivial, the donations brought into this school could change one child’s life. The majority of our student body has visited Boston at least once, and to know you are making a difference in a neighboring area could change your perspective on the holiday season.  Could you imagine your childhood years with no coloring books, board games or toys? Neither could I, and with the support of our school, children in our region won’t have to either.

By Taylor Burns