Lynn Fire Dept and Pickering Middle School Students Assist in Toys for Tots Program

December 23, 2014
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Pickering Middle School students join Dan Zagdan-Gross and his colleagues from the Lynn Fire Department at the school as part of the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots collection and distribution program.

Pickering Middle School students join Dan Zagdan-Gross and his colleagues from the Lynn Fire Department
at the school as part of the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots collection and distribution program.

The Lynn Fire Department and Pickering Middle School students are helping children across the North Shore enjoy a happy holiday season as a result of their joint efforts in the U.S. Marine Toys for Tots program.

Dan Zagdan-Gross, one of the leaders of Lynn Fire Department’s Toys for Tots effort, and fellow firefighters packed up the toys donated by Pickering students and transported them to the regional collection center in Salem where the toys are then organized for distribution.

Lynn firefighters also conduct their own toy donation drive at fire stations throughout the city, according to Zagdan-Gross.

Dena Coffey, health teacher, and Claire McRobbie, guidance counselor,  are co-coordinators of the Toys for Tots program at Pickering. Both expressed their gratitude to the Lynn Fire Department for coming to the school and transporting the toys in safe and orderly fashion to the destination point.

The toy drive began Dec. 3 at the school.  “We partnered with the Lynn Fire Department and were able to collect 330 toys,” said Coffey. “They (LFD) do a great job helping us to deliver and distribute the toys.”

Students in the Pickering School chapter of the National Junior Honor Society and the Pickering Voices community service team helped organize the drive, and collect and pack the toys in the fourth annual school-wide effort.

“The kids love collecting toys for donations,” said Coffey. “And once again they did an amazing job. Also each year more and more parents support the program.”

McRobbie, adviser to the National Honor Society, said that students must have a grade point average (GPA) of 3.7 or higher to gain admission to the chapter.

   Kevin Rittershaus, principal of the Pickering Middle School said he was “very proud” of his students.

“Every year they bring more and more toys and it’s a great cause,” said Rittershaus. “They always rise to the occasion and it’s very great to see this happen. They take great pride in bringing in the toys and helping the cause. And the parents do as well.”

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