Toys For Joy Fundraiser Provides Holiday Gifts


Members of the Peer Advocates sort out toy donations.

Danielle Ricketts, Class of 2022

West Haven High School Peer Advocates were hard at work this month as they prepared for the annual Toys for Joy event, which provides children in need something to look forward to on Christmas Day.


Due to the effects of the pandemic, the need this year is greater than ever before. After only two weeks of registration, 375 families signed up.


Peer Advocates, led by teachers Taylor Paredes and Jolie Morrell, fundraised for months so this event could be possible.


It began with Peer Advocates heading to stores all over West Haven, requesting the donation of gift cards to support the Toys For Joy cause. These donated gift cards were then used in a calendar-style raffle.


Each day of December, people who participated had the chance of being randomly selected and winning the gift cards for that day. Peer Advocates sold these calendars for $20 each, which raised the money for toys to be bought. 


These toys were then organized and packaged to be given to the hundreds of West Haven families that signed up to receive a special holiday gift.


Peer Advocates put aside their busy schedules and work really hard during the holiday season to make sure West Haven families in need will have something to look forward to for Christmas, and said that the hard work is worth it.


“Nothing makes me happier than giving toys to kids that need them,” Peer Advocate Robert Vets Jr. said.


In order for this program to be possible, Toys for Joy has partnered with the West Haven Fire Department, West Haven Police Department, Fred Hugendubel (Dubel’s Cafe) and Westies Win.


“It’s extremely difficult coordinating with all the different parties, but it’s well worth it,” Mr. Paredes said.