For the second year, Junior member Katie Toye, 17, organized her Toiletry Drive to benefit veterans and active duty servicemembers in San Mateo County, Calif. She expanded this year's drive from her small high school community to the social media world by using the website/app Nextdoor and enlisted a fellow ALA Girls State delegate's school to participate. The online connection triggered deliveries from several Elks lodges, local businesses, and neighbors.
This was a wonderful opportunity to educate the public about the needs of our veterans who suffer from hardship, and Toye took it. Beneficiaries of the drive included: VA Menlo Park women veterans and short-term patients, College of San Mateo's Veterans Resource & Opportunity Center, the United Service Organizations (USO) at San Francisco International Airport, and active duty servicemembers adopted by The American Legion Family at Post 82.
Toye started her partnership with ALA Unit 82 in 2009, when her Girl Scout troop created holiday cards for VA patients. She continued the card tradition with her soccer team from 2011 to 2016. As with any high school senior, she's very busy (classes, college night courses, yearbook editor & adviser, soccer team, peer counselor, and robotics); however, she still finds time to volunteer at the VA facility by serving BBQ to patients, delivering holiday gifts, and distributing dessert with her Auxiliary unit and local Legionnaires. She served as an ALA Girls State delegate in June 2017 and was proud to wear her honor button recognizing her grandfather's service during the Korean War.