Story and photos by Lisa Carolin
The Christmas tree inside Palmer Auto Service is in danger of being overtaken by a mountains of toys.
That’s because the downtown business has been collecting donations for the annual Toys for Tots and Teens toy drive during Hometown Holiday and it’s been a big year for donations.
Among the donors on Friday, Dec. 13, were students from South Meadows Elementary School as well as students from Beach Middle School.
The Beach students are members of teacher Kathryn McCalla’s Beach Leadership group.
“These are eighth-graders for whom fundraising for kids at school is a big part of what we do,” said McCalla.
Soon after the eighth-graders dropped off all the toys they’d collected, South Elementary School fourth-graders from teacher Jenni Linde’s class dropped off nearly 300 toys collected at their school.
“It’s such a great cause,” said Linde. “I want these kids to be able to give, and this is our lesson of giving.”
“We talked with students about this being a privilege,” said South Principal Stacie Battaglia. “It’s an opportunity to see that things go beyond our school district.”
The tradition of collecting Toys for Tots began 40 years ago at Palmer thanks to Suzie Palmer Weber.
“We are honored to be a part of this Chelsea tradition and to help give back to our neighbors and friends during the holiday season,” said Bob Mock, owner of Palmer Auto Service. “One of the largest annual drives is from Jiffy Mixes. The generosity from the Chelsea community is amazing.”
Faith in Action Executive Director Sheri Montoye stopped by Palmer Auto Service Dec. 13 to thank the students for their efforts. The toy donations will be delivered to Faith in Action in Chelsea at noon on Monday, Dec. 16.