Shakopee Area Catholic School wrapped up the year with a successful turnout for its annual toy drive, donating hundreds of toys and dollars to the CAP Agency.

The school collected over 291 toys and gifts and $415 in monetary donations, according to numbers provided by SACS.

“I like that the toy drive brings our school together and that it allows us to donate toys to families who aren’t as fortunate as many of us are,” said Mara Beuch, SACS seventh grader and student council president.

The school collected donations from Dec. 1-12.

The toy drive is sponsored by the school’s student council and has been in the works for months. According to Courtney Bush, SACS middle school teacher and student council advisor, student council started preparing for this toy drive in fall alongside a sponsored food drive in November.

This planning process included communicating with students and their families via social media and weekly newsletters. During the school days, students shared regular updates on the morning announcements and managed the toys as they came in.

Student council also kept a running total throughout the drive and updated students and staff via a display in the building. Paper Christmas ornaments were colored and added to a Christmas tree poster as more donations were collected. Bush said this display provided kids with a better understanding of the drive’s progress.

“It felt really good to see all the presents we collected and know we’re making a difference,” said Destiny Ditto, SACS seventh grader and student council member.

The final count ended with hundreds of donated toys catering to a variety of kids’ ages and interests. These included sports balls, Legos, dolls and game sets. The CAP Agency also created an Amazon wish list, where people could buy gifts specific to the agency’s needs.

Monetary donations were accepted for the toy drive as well, with some families donating gift cards or making a donation online via the school’s website.

In choosing where donations should go, Bush said SACS had an easy decision with the CAP Agency.

“Helping anyone is great, but helping the people within our own community — it starts at home. So we try to make an impact locally and then can share with our student body that the donations are staying in town and are really helping their neighbors, their friends, maybe even some of their classmates,” she said.

SACS student council packed the toys up for the CAP Agency on Dec. 13, where they now can be given to local families for the holidays.

“It felt good to know our work and donations are going to make a lot of kids happy,” said Emerson Moe, SACS sixth grader and student council member. “It’s cool to see that you don’t have to be an adult to make a difference … even a toy drive at our school can make a big difference for a lot of families.”