Toys, toys, toys! Maple School teacher spearheads annual toy drive

  • For 27 years, Maple School physical education teacher and student council co-sponsor Lynn Reimer, top right, has been spearheading an annual toy drive for needy families in Northfield Township. She is joined by fellow co-sponsor Iris Zhang, left, who teaches Mandarin Chinese teacher.

    For 27 years, Maple School physical education teacher and student council co-sponsor Lynn Reimer, top right, has been spearheading an annual toy drive for needy families in Northfield Township. She is joined by fellow co-sponsor Iris Zhang, left, who teaches Mandarin Chinese teacher. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • "I know, that today is so very difficult for so many that we want to do everything possible," says Lynn Reimer, a teacher at Maple School in Northbrook.

    "I know, that today is so very difficult for so many that we want to do everything possible," says Lynn Reimer, a teacher at Maple School in Northbrook. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

  • Maple School teacher Iris Zhang loads toys into a waiting car Friday at the Northbrook school.

    Maple School teacher Iris Zhang loads toys into a waiting car Friday at the Northbrook school. Brian Hill | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 12/17/2020 6:28 AM

Surrounded by giant stacks of toys lining the stairs of the Northbrook school, Maple School teachers Lynn Reimer and her student council co-sponsor Iris Zhang prepare to load the donations to benefit the Northfield Township Food Pantry Friday.

For 27 years, physical education teacher Lynn Reimer has been spearheading the annual toy drive.

 

Reimer credits her childhood as part of her inspiration. "I think it comes from when I was growing up, with five sisters and two brothers and we were less fortunate," she said.

Reimer says that she gets a supreme feeling of happiness in her heart every year when she spearheads the drive.

"I know, that today is so very difficult for so many that we want to do everything possible," Reimer says.

But it's not just her -- it's also the kids at Maple School making blankets and the administrators, teachers, parents donating who make the difference.

"Usually we have kids from student council loading the cars, but since school is all remote now, we can't do that," says Beth Preis, of Northbrook/Glenview School District 30.

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On Friday morning, volunteers from the Northfield Township food pantry picked up the mountain of toys at the Northbrook school.

Reimer says they usually have big sales and fundraisers for the toy drive starting in August, all the way through December.

The annual drive usually collects upward of 10,000 items, but there is less this year due to the pandemic.

"This is really nice but it's nothing like we've done in the past," says Reimer.

More than 900 families now rely on Northfield Township Food Pantry and Youth Services for food and other essential items.

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