Toy drive yields hundreds of donations at local school

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

Mighty Girls Club’s project to benefit Navicent Health in Macon

The Christmas spirit is alive and well in Henry County, thanks in part to the efforts of a group of girls at a local school.

Students at Cotton Indian Elementary School have collected toy donations to be sent to the pediatric unit of a hospital in Macon. Special photo

Students at Cotton Indian Elementary School in Stock-bridge recently collected toys as part of a drive benefiting a hospital in Macon. The drive was spearheaded by a group of 18 girls in fourth and fifth grades at the school, dubbed the Mighty Girls Club, says the club’s sponsor, Elizabeth Fuqua.

“We’ve been talking about being a leader and what a leader is,” says Fuqua, who also works as an early intervention teacher at Cotton Indian Elementary. “They wanted to collect these toys to give to kids at Christmas. This semester, they made it their goal to collect as many toys as possible to donate to the pediatric units at Navicent Health in Macon.”

The toy-drive concept, says Fuqua, was sparked in October after an emergency-room nurse at Navicent visited the club. She says the girls were inspired to do something to help the hospital, and expanded the project to include the entire school.

“This was totally their idea, and they have really run the toy drive with just a little supervision from me,” says Fuqua. “They had three weeks and they put up posters around the building. They went and talked to classes about what we were doing. They went on the morning announcements and talked about it. They were so enthusiastic.”

Students at the school collected items such as coloring books, art supplies, stuffed animals, clothing, books, and Barbie dolls to donate to the pediatric units at Navicent. Fuqua says the club’s excitement apparently caught on as evidenced by the results of the toy drive when they were announced last Friday.

“We had 620 toys, which is more than I ever imagined,” she says. “Our school was doing a canned food drive at the same time, so I didn’t think we’d get a lot. I was blown away.”

A third-grade class at Cotton Indian Elementary, led by teacher Kamie Wilson, collected the most toys, with 61. Fuqua says she admires the initiative shown by members of the Mighty Girls Club in conducting the toy drive.

“I was just so proud of them,” says Fuqua. “I think it’s easy for us sometimes to beat up on the next generation, or say that they’re only interested in themselves, but they were so compassionate and wanted to help. It was so inspiring.”

Fuqua adds that following the success of the toy drive, she made arrangements to take Mighty Girls Club on a tour of Navicent Health this week.