Toys-4-Teeth Holiday Donation.
Article by Erin Sauder at Elgin Courier-News:
Brenedy Amaya, 6, knew a surprise was in store at the end of the school day for her and the rest of the students who participate in the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dundee Township program.
The Meadowdale Elementary School student’s guess?
“I thought we were going to be making a craft for our mom and dad for Christmas,” she said.
While Brenedy was very much looking forward to that possibility, the surprise ended up being even better.
Stirneman, owner of the Lake in the Hills-based Compassionate Dental Care, initially began collecting toys at his office. In 2017, his director of business development, Jim Wojdyla, wanted to expand the scope in hopes other local businesses would help spread the word and possibly double the number of donations. Seven businesses helped collect 100 toys.
The following year, Wojdyla met with Renee Erling, executive director of the Algonquin Lake in the Hills Chamber of Commerce, to discuss a partnership.
“The Chamber is focused on synergy with local businesses,” Erling said. “we loved the idea of bringing local businesses of all kinds together to for the common cause of helping our community.”
This year, 50 local businesses helped collect 1,000 toys which were divided between five elementary schools that host sites for the Boys and Girls Clubs.
On Friday, the toys were laid out and Santa greeted students as they filed by the tables to pick one out.
When Brenedy saw the pile of gifts she immediately clapped a hand over her mouth in awe. She chose a Disney princess doll.
“I always wanted a princess like this,” she said.
Arely Gamez, the unit director for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Dundee Township’s Meadowdale site, lauded the initiative.
“I think it’s really nice everyone is receiving something,” she said. “And I think it’s a nice thing for those local businesses to come together as a community and give back to the students.”
After choosing their gifts and receiving their cleaning vouchers, the students visited with Santa and did some caroling.
Wojdyla loves participating in the initiative.
“To hear the gym filled with the screams of excitement, and the hugs that we get from them after, make all of the hard work worth every minute,” he said.
Stirneman is excited about the program’s growth.
“We collected 500 toys last year. Now this year it’s 1,000. It just keeps getting bigger,” he said. “It’s really cool.”