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ESK students conduct toy drive

First-graders at The Episcopal School of Knoxville loaded enough toys, books, clothes and bicycles to fill two 24-foot U-Haul trucks and helped deliver them to the Holiday Bureau in Oak Ridge in late January.

It was the culmination of the school’s seventh-annual drive to help supply Christmas gifts for needy Anderson County families to give their children. The Holiday Bureau off Emory Road in Oak Ridge will take those items and refurbish them as needed in time for Christmas 2007.

The project is an eye-opening experience for these students, who plan The Episcopal School drive, solicit toys from others and give their own, and then sort and deliver them. The first graders have an able partner in the Holiday Bureau, which serves about 800 families yearly and operates wholly on volunteer effort. The Holiday Bureau has been in operation for 61 years.

The Episcopal School drive began with a school-wide call in early January for good, used toys. The first-graders took the donated toys and stored them, first in bags in their classrooms and then in a giant bin behind the school gymnasium. Just prior to Jan. 30, the delivery day, they sorted the toys into categories: things in bags, including clothes; things in boxes, such as games, and things with wheels, such as bicycles, tricycles, and scooters.

On delivery day, the first-graders — with the help of fifth-graders — loaded the sorted items onto the trucks. The items with wheels filled fully half of one 24-foot truck.

“This lets our children help other children their own age,” said first-grade teacher Jessica Shelley. “It lets them know, ‘I’m able to give up something that’s valuable to me and let other kids have it.’”


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