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Teachers and staff fill a holiday need

Posted at 8:09 PM, Dec 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-12-21 22:15:19-05

Smiling faces at Jupiter Elementary School, not because it's the last day of school before the holidays, but because they each got a Christmas toy.

Megan Lee, a school administrator said, "We are just overjoyed and we feel an immense sense of gratitude because as educators you want the best for the children but you can only go as far as you can."

What the kids don't know is that on Wednesday school administrators found out they would not receive gifts from Toys For Tots. They didn't waste time. They got busy working the phones, Facebook and Twitter, raising money to make sure their students weren't disappointed. "Nobody said no."

So what happened? I met with the Palm Beach County Toys For Tots Coordinator to find out.

"The issue wasn't that we didn't have enough toys, is that we didn't have enough toys in their age range," U.S. Marine Jesse Mejia said.

The "Toys For Tots" representative says they collected toys from 279 locations, but they can only distribute what's collected or bought from monetary donations. The need is high. "And we also had 94 churches and 501c3's that we provided toys to." 

In the end, he's glad the school found a way.

"So we just ask for everybody's patience and if we couldn't get to you for whatever reason, I apologize on behalf of Toys for Tots and the Marine Corp, but it's something that we will definitely work on in the future."

Pine Grove Elementary in Delray Beach thought they wouldn't get any toys. But at the last minute they got a call from Toys For Tots. Principal Shauntay King said, 

"In the end, they came through so we are very appreciative."

Though students at the schools are smiling, administrators say community donations were the icing on the cake. Christian Bergstrom donated toys to Jupiter Elementary.

"There are so many fortunate people that live in this community, that we really need to give back," he said.

And organizations like "The Giving Tree Temple Beth El" stepped up to help Pine Grove Elementary. 

"We still had toys left over, we thought what a perfect opportunity. We can still help out," Judy Gordon said.
"Toys For Tots" says they have distributed more than 70 thousand toys for this Christmas season.