For the third year in a row, Mennies Elementary School made the holidays a lot merrier for families staying at the Ronald McDonald House in Camden this holiday season, courtesy of twelve-year-old Logan Huston.
Logan, a Pennsylvania native, was diagnosed with plexiform neurofibroma - tumors in his nervous system. Logan is a frequent resident of the Ronald McDonald House when he receives treatment at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and was able to see firsthand the strain it can cause on families, especially around the holidays.
Five years ago, he decided to do something to change that. Logan launched a toy drive, with a goal of receiving 300 gifts to deliver to the Ronald McDonald House to be distributed at the holidays. As he explained to the gathered members of the Mennies Safety Patrol, families with little or no money can shop at the center for free, easing some of the strain this time of year.
Logan, sporting his honorary safety patrol t-shirt, took a seat in front of the festive Christmas tree in the Mennies library. This year he was joined by Cole, music teacher Chris Hannah’s deaf therapy dog, who serves as a mascot for the school. Cole, decked out in a Santa outfit, made himself comfortable at Logan’s feet and was more than happy to be on the receiving end of some scratches as Logan chatted with the safety patrol members.
The students then began to ask questions, bonding with Logan over their love of the Eagles and video games, in particular. When asked what he most looked forward to when he visited Mennies each year, Logan replied that he enjoys meeting the new fifth-graders and, this year in particular, he was looking forward to meeting Cole, who he follows on social media. The festivities concluded with a pizza party.
Mennies School became involved after Kristen Speakman, assistant principal, spoke to a friend and learned of Logan’s campaign. She brought it to the attention of Lisa Arena, principal, and Karen Kreck, safety patrol advisor, who then proposed helping with the drive to her patrol members.
“We try to give a lot to those who don’t have,” Kreck said. “The kids are just so excited when they’re giving. They really put their hearts into it.”
Last year, Mennies surpassed their goal by collecting 355 gifts. This year they went even further, collecting 380 toys for those in need.
Click the following link for a photo gallery from the event: