It’s that time of year to be thankful, but it’s also that time of year for something else – toy shopping. But not everyone has the resources to get their child the latest and greatest toys on the market. The United States Marine Corps began the Toys for Tots program in 1995 to foster a message of hope to less fortunate youngsters. This message will assist them in becoming responsible, productive, patriotic citizens; and assist them in becoming citizens like U.S. Marine Corps Lance Corporal Phillip Vinnedge.
Cpl. Vinnedge, a graduate of Francis Howell Central High School, gave the ultimate sacrifice to his country in 2010 while serving in Operation Enduring Freedom, in the Helmand Province of Afghanistan. In his honor, the elementary school he attended in the Francis Howell School District (FHSD), Castlio, honors this hero every year by making the season brighter for less fortunate children in our area.
Castlio Assistant Principal Tim Scholle said, “Every year, our student council raises money to go towards a shopping trip to buy toys for Toys for Tots. And each year our students, parents, and community have donated more and more. This year, we are proud to say that we have raised $2,291 and counting.”
Students and staff at Castlio will use the money to buy toys at Target on Mid Rivers Mall Drive, and have invited members of the Vinnedge family to join them for the shopping spree. “Target has been a great partner in this,” Scholle said, “and has given us a 10% discount so we are able to buy even more toys for kids in need.”
Toys for Tots seeks to make the Holidays more enjoyable for children who are less fortunate. But the other objective is to unite all people in a common cause; to contribute to better communities. In this time of thanksgiving, FHSD is thankful to see its community coming together to honor generosity and sacrifice. A toy is just a toy, but it can bring not just a smile to a child’s face – it can bring a community together. LCpl. Vinnedge still brings his community together every year. And that is honor.