Second-graders give big to Toys for Tots

ENCINITAS — It was a school fundraiser that went better than anyone expected. Park Dale Lane Elementary second-graders raised more than $1,000 to give to the Marines Toys for Tots Christmas toy drive.
Most of the money was raised through collecting and recycling cans and plastic bottles. While the school has an ongoing recycling program, recycling really took off when the second-graders got on board with the goal to raise money so less fortunate boys and girls could have gifts on Christmas.
“We have barrels in front of the school,” Pat Keene, a second-grade teacher, said. “Like magic by the end of the day they were filled again. The whole school contributed, taking the recycling concept into their homes.”
“We had a goal to raise $300,” Sonja Walke, a second-grade teacher, said. “The first week we raised $300. In five weeks we raised $957 recycling. It just took off, past any of our expectations.”
The recycling fundraiser lasted five weeks. Each of the five second-grade classes took turns cashing in cans at the recycling center with the help of parent volunteers and teachers.
When all monies from recycling efforts were tallied the total was about $50 short of $1,000. Second-grade student Nathan Hamzey took it upon himself to raise the extra $50 so the donation could be $1,000.
Camp Pendleton Marines stopped by the school on Dec. 3 to receive the donation and meet the students. They stayed to play a game of handball and sit down for lunch with the students.
When the call went out for Marines to come to the school to pick up the donation Cpl. Duaine Hicks was one of the first to volunteer. “I have 22 nephews and nieces,” Cpl. Hicks said. “I couldn’t be more proud than to be with these kids. They also made cards for the wounded warriors in Afghanistan.”
The fundraising effort taught students the importance of helping others and the tangible benefits of recycling.
Nathan gained a good understanding of the Toys for Tots toy drive. “It earns money for boys and girls for Christmas,” Nathan said. When asked how important it is for boys and girls to receive a toy on Christmas, Nathan understood that concept too. “Very important!” he said.
The school will continue to recycle cans and plastic bottles. Other grades will take turns monitoring the recycling collection bins and use the money earned for the school garden and fifth grade outdoor education camp.
See video from the event at


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