Every year, the Men's Club at Providence Catholic High School coordinates a Toys for Tots Toy Drive with the help of the Women's Club.
The toy drive, on average, brings in around 80 toys at its one-night event. Men's Club President Brian Masterson said the event has historically been a couples event and each couple brings in a present.
As much as Masterson wanted the event to still go on this year, he knew that it was not going to be possible because of the pandemic.
"We had to pivot," he said. "That is the new lingo we have at Providence. How do we pivot to open school and how do we pivot to make this event happen?"
That pivot was made possible by Lisa Paciga, Women's Club president. She came up with the idea of doing an Amazon Wish List.
That idea helped to more than triple an average year's intake. The toy drive brought in 250 toys. Both Masterson and Paciga noted how grateful they were for the community's generosity.
"Lisa called me and said we could still do the toy drive," Masterson said. "Within an hour, she sends me an email with the link and it was set up. We did all this in less than two weeks."
And within 48 hours, Paciga told Masterson that 80 presents were already bought. He thought she meant 80 people had simply visited the site.
Paciga said they were at a crossroads of what to do.
"We had to become creative and hoped the Providence community would be responsive," she said. "This totally exceeded my expectations. I was really hoping to just double it."
So many gifts were donated that they almost all didn't fit in the van.
One thing that didn't change was having Marines come to pick up the toys. This year was a bit more special as 2017 graduate Cpl. Santo Janicek was one of the marines to pick up the gifts.
"It was remarkable," Paciga said. "Me made that decision at such a young age. It was kind of a circle of life for Providence. He commits himself and comes back to support our charitable cause."