Check out all the toys! Student Council annual toy drive was another success. HHS students and staff donated enough money to buy all of this.

Harlem Township, high school longtime partners in toy drive
By Bob Balgemann
Hundreds of children have had a joyful Christmas over the years thanks to a joint effort involving Harlem Township officials, Harlem High School students, athletes and faculty, and generous residents and businesses of the village.
Now retired township Supervisor Doug Aurand started the traditional collection of toys when he was in office. When he retired in 2011, Terri Knight was appointed supervisor and she has continued the eagerly anticipated, multi-faceted event.
The culmination of this year’s collection came when Harlem Student Council members and others went shopping for children of varying ages at the Target store on the north side of town.
Then, on the morning of Dec. 3, the grand presentation of all those toys took place in the lobby at the high school.
Principal Terrell Yarbrough thanked everyone for participating and presented the toys to Supervisor Knight. Others at the happy gathering were Student Council members Eric Steiner, Rachel Gander, Isaac Wolf, Roger McGee, Peyton Hume, Jordan Alms and Max Fox, the school’s activities director, Betty Goldsmith Mann, and Student Council advisers Erin Arbruzzo and Paige Ferry.
Some $3,600 was raised this year for the toys.
Students and township representatives carried the toys from the lobby to waiting vehicles parked in front of the main entrance to the high school. Then they continued on their way to the township office, where they were unloaded and taken inside to the township board meeting room.
“It went beautifully,” Supervisor Knight said of the presentation and delivery. “I thanked the kids for what they did.”
But It wasn’t over. On Dec. 5, after sorting through the room full of toys at the township office, there was another round of shopping. Terri Knight, husband Chuck, township Assessor Mark Sorrentino, Jon Vaiden from the assessor’s office and Dawn Frank from the township office went to Target to fill any voids in the various age groups.
Also that day they received gift certificates from McDonald’s.
Distribution day was Dec. 10, at the township office, when each qualified family received a ham in addition to a large assortment of toys for their children.
Village drive
The annual village toy drive, in conjunction with North Park Church of Christ and Helping Hands Food Pantry, wrapped up Dec. 8.
Earlier in the week, at the Dec. 3 village board meeting, Mayor Steve Johnson presented a monetary donation to the pantry, which opened its doors in 2003 and has served many thousands of people since them.
The Rev. Jared Kemp, pastor of the Church of Christ, was at the meeting and accepted the check from the mayor. He thanked the mayor and village for making this toy drive a success for almost 10 years.
At the adjacent food pantry, he said, “We provide groceries for about 300 families a month. This gift shop that we put on every year is really a huge added bonus for children, parents and grandparents, who cannot otherwise afford Christmas presents. Thank you very much for your continued support and we look forward to continue working with you.”
The toy drive was launched by Mayor Tom Strickland when he was in office. It was continued by Mayor Jerry Bolin and now by Mayor Johnson.

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