Highlands graduate continuing ‘Holiday 365’ toy drive | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Highlands graduate continuing ‘Holiday 365’ toy drive

Brian C. Rittmeyer
Courtesy of Marissa Callender
Marissa Callender, 18, on the campus of Allegheny College in Meadville. The 2019 Highlands High School graduate is continuing the “Holiday 365” toy drive she started while a high school student in 2017 to benefit needy children in the school district.

A 2019 Highlands High School graduate is continuing a toy drive she started while a student in the district.

Marissa Callender is organizing her “Holiday 365” toy drive for a third consecutive year.

Callender, 18, is a freshman at Allegheny College in Meadville, where she is studying biochemistry. She plans to attend medical school and become a pediatric oncologist.

The toy collection benefits Highlands children in need through the district, the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center and the Allegheny Valley Association of Churches.

Callender first held the toy drive in 2017 and again in 2018 for her Girl Scout Gold Award. That first year, she collected 170 toys and clothing items; last year, it more than doubled to 400, but she said the Girl Scouts determined the project wasn’t enough for the award.

Callender said she’s hoping to collect 400 items again this year.

“I still would like to help my community,” she said. “They helped me a lot in my life.”

The first toy collection will be at Highlands’ homecoming game Friday, and Callender said she’ll be there.

Every adult and student who donates a new toy or clothing item at the gate will get free admission to the football game, with one ticket per item donated. The game starts at 7 p.m. at Golden Rams Stadium.

A donation box will be in the main office at Highlands High School, Callender said.

For more information, contact Callender at [email protected]

Brian C. Rittmeyer is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Brian at 724-226-4701, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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