Two Deer Park High School students collected hundreds of toys last month for children in their school community and Toys for Tots.
Tiffany Bala and Kayley Eising, both sophomores, collected more than 260 toys using the website YouGiveGoods.com, which allows people to donate by buying from a list of toy options. They were inspired to organize the inaugural toy drive after seeing many of their friends' parents lose their jobs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The teens' sponsoring charity was the Anthony DeNoyior Memorial Foundation, which was recently created in memory of a Deer Park resident and 20-year volunteer auxiliary police officer with the Suffolk County Police Department. DeNoyior died last year from COVID-19.
"Our goals matched with his in the generosity aspect and this is why we chose this foundation to partner with," Bala said of DeNoyior.
"I was very excited and overwhelmed with our turnout," Eising said. "I never imagined getting the amount of donations we received."
The Deer Park teens spread the word about their toy drive on social media and ultimately distributed the toys to local families in need with the help of their school social worker, Chenoa Mattila.
Bala and Eising also serve as president and vice president, respectively, of their school's Class of 2023.