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Dundee students buy gifts for Toys for Tots

Eight-graders from Dundee Middle School shop for toys Friday Dec. 13 2013 West Dundee Target. The students spent week raising

Eight-graders from Dundee Middle School shop for toys Friday, Dec. 13, 2013, at the West Dundee Target. The students spent the week raising money for Toys for Toys of Kane County. | Suzanne Baker ~ Sun-Times Media

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Updated: January 17, 2014 6:11AM

WEST DUNDEE — Felix Alvarez and Eric Schutt twice watched in anticipation as the register totaled up their toy purchases. After going through the line once, the boys realized they still had $75 left to spend, so back to the toy aisle they hustled.

The two Dundee Middle School students were among the 16 eighth-graders who spent an hour shopping Friday afternoon at Target in West Dundee to benefit the Toys for Tots program.

Each year, the middle school students — through the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports program — are charged with a goal to participate in a caring project in December. This year, the eight-graders from Team B chose to support Toys for Tots.

Over the course of a week, the students collected money from fellow students or brought in donations from home, said Kim Duffey, who organized the trip with fellow teachers Marcie Arsenault, Karen Cumpata and Deborah Seyller.

After all was said and done, the kids each were given $45 to spend.

To maximize their purchases, many of the students pooled their money to take advantage of the sales Target offered.

Felix and Eric joined up with two other classmates so they would have $180. The four were shocked to find out many of their purchases were buy-one/get-one-free because their purchase totaled only $124.08.

That meant another trip to the toy aisle to buy up what they realized was a really good deal. “There are only four Hot Wheels left. We bought nearly every one off the shelf,” Felix said.

Elizabeth Osimani’s cart was filled with Barbie dolls, coloring books and a Nerf football. “I always wanted a lot of Barbies when I was little,” Elizabeth said.

Marine Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Kackert, the Kane County Toys for Tots coordinator, thanked the students for their efforts after the toys were loaded into the back of his vehicle. “You did awesome. You should be proud,” he said.

All the toys the students collected will be distributed to children in Kane County through 29 agencies. Along with the Dundee Middle School donation, Kackert expected to visit 300 drop sites over the weekend to gather toys.

Donations of toys or money will be accepted throughout the week (visit to help). The Marines will sort and wrap the toys before the estimated 8,000 gifts will be handed out starting next weekend.

Jacob Metz was all smiles as he stood in the checkout line to watch his purchases roll across the scanner.

“This is actually really fun,” he said.

He and Noah Lockhart both liked the idea of giving back to the community. “We’re giving Christmas to little kids,” Noah said.

The students’ spirit of giving was contagious. The commotion of 16 eighth-graders shopping caught the attention of several shoppers at Target. One woman even handed over a coupon to Duffey.

“It’s $10 off a $100 purchase. The card expires Dec. 15, and I won’t be able to use it before then,” the anonymous donor said.

The other students who participated were Delaney Calabrese, Cecilia Pankau, Sierra Schaaf, Lauren Pernice, MacKenzie Prusko, Haley Jacobsen, Ryan Dykes, Jonny Escarino, Alex Pudlik, Kira Kugler and Shandon Julian.

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