A season of giving

Holiday toy drives begin at Neshaminy High School


Rachel Gallagher

LANGHORNE, PA- As December begins and Christmas approaches, holiday toy drives are starting up again. Neshaminy High School hosts two drives each year, the National Honor Society’s ‘Breathing Room Foundation’, and  Interact Club’s ‘Toys for Tots’ Drive. While the motive for each and every toy drive is different, the end goal is the same; spread holiday cheer to the less fortunate. 

The NHS community comes together every year to support families during the holiday season. The National Honor Society, teachers Kimberly Kelley and Marisa Quaranta have partnered with the Breathing Room Foundation for the sixth year in a row. The Breathing Room Foundation is a local organization that helps families in our area who have members that are suffering from cancer. 

 “Our goal is to collect enough to fill every family’s list,” Kelley stated. “We have been successful every year thus far.”

They have adopted 10 families for each student in the society to provide a gift for. This foundation was chosen for the national honor society because of how much it means to Kelley.

“I learned of the organization itself on social media,” Kelley expressed. “I chose this organization because I have a history of cancer. I remember the disbelief, fear, anger, sadness and uncertainty upon diagnosis. This organization provides a way to relieve some of these feelings and stresses, if only for a moment. That was enough for me.” 

Everyone deserves that feeling of receiving a gift on Christmas, and the Breathing Room Foundation does its best to fulfill that. 

Interact Club, led by English teacher Suzi Drake,  also holds its own annual drive where they donate to the Toys for Tots campaign organized by the Bursk/Wiley families. 

“Interact has been working with us since 2016 – we have been doing the toy drive for 15 years,” art teacher Justin Bursk said. 

Interact chose to team up with these families for so many years in hopes of making a difference in people’s lives. 

So many families struggle at the holidays to provide the “extras” that we have come to expect,” Drake explained. “Toys for Tots helps families provide that magic for the children.”

It is so important to give back during the holiday season. Every donation makes an impact no matter what it is, or how much money it costs. Just by purchasing a little gift for one of these organizations, you could be making such a positive impact on someone in a rough time. 

“We adopted this family last year because her little boy was suffering from cancer and had recently had a leg amputation as a result,” Kelley shared about one of her experiences with the foundation. 

“That little boy was so excited and even muttered that ‘this was going to be his best Christmas,’” Kelley recited. “The family was incredibly grateful for our support as they were struggling financially and, if not for anything else, they would have a great Christmas.”

To our despair, this little boy passed away this past month. That family will still be adopted by Neshaminy’s Breathing Room Foundation, as this Christmas is going to be very difficult for them.

“I can’t seem to forget about the overwhelming smile that we, as an NHS community, brought to that little boy that day,” Kelly stated. “I remember the look of relief on the parents’ faces when we arrived with everything on their children’s wish lists along with all of the necessities that they lacked.”

There are so many stories just like this one. Whether it’s the National Honor Society or the Interact Club, they are beyond grateful for every donation received. As you enjoy your holiday, just remember how significant it is to donate.