Annual Toy Drive Achieves Unexpected Success Amid Pandemic

The Interact Club achieved success with its annual Toy Drive despite the Covid-19 pandemic, collecting a considerable number of donations and starting a partnership with Menlo College that may continue in the future. 

Junior Christopher Guerrero helped host the drive, sending out an email on Nov. 9 asking for donations of toys for any age, gender, new or gently used, and unwrapped. The toys were collected in the usual spot at Eastside, in a big box in the front office, until Dec. 14.

“I was shocked at how fast the box filled up,” Christopher said. “People were very generous and I was surprised because I thought a lot more people would be saving up because of how these times are, but just as many were donating as usual, which was interesting to me.” 

Meanwhile, through the partnership with Menlo College’s Rotaract Club, toys were also collected there in the visitor parking area, which Interact Club advisor and Art teacher Linda Filo picked up later. (“Rotaract Club” is a combination of Rotary Club, the worldwide organization, and Interact Club.)

All the toys were taken to the Ecumenical Hunger Program in East Palo Alto, which distributed toys from Dec. 9 to 16. 

The Toy Drive had to change in some ways to cope with the pandemic. This year, many donations were made virtually, either through virtual gift cards or orders made online and shipped to Eastside, which meant that more donations were collected, and also that they came in more quickly.  Additionally, with the online ordering, Linda noticed that most toys seemed to be new, rather than gently used, which were more typical of the toys donated at Eastside in previous years. 

“We decided to do the drive again, especially at this time,” Linda said. “A lot of people lost their jobs because of Covid, and there’s not much money to go around for kids to get things, so we felt this was a more important year than ever.”  

After seeing the success of the Interact Club’s partnership with Menlo College’s Rotaract Club, Linda hopes to include them in the Toy Drive in the future, and also to invite them to participate in Interact Club meetings and maybe even teach the Interact Club about Rotaract Club activities in college.