9-year-old Saginaw Township girl nearing goal of 100 Toys for Tots gifts this season

Michaela Witgen, 9, with some of the more than 70 toys she has collected for Toys for Tots this season.
By  | 

SAGINAW TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (11/27/2017) - This holiday season, 9-year-old Michaela Witgen wants to make sure children in Saginaw County have a merry Christmas.

The Peace Lutheran School fourth-grader has been collecting Toys for Tots donations and contributions to help her buy gifts for the annual U.S. Marine Reserve Corps Christmas collection.

“I’ve been collecting pop cans from teachers and at church, and some people are sending me their bottle and can receipts so I can buy toys,” Witgen said.

She watches toy sales closely to stretch her financial donations as far as possible.

“I want kids to get the same joy I feel on Christmas,” Witgen said.

So far this season, she has received or purchased more than 70 new toys. Her personal goal is 100.

In addition to the toy collection, she is also organizing a bake sale this week and “No Collar for a Dollar Day,” during which Peace students can forgo the usual dress code for a $1 donation.

“When Michaela approached me about conducting the special events and toy drive here at school, I said yes because she had already done so much on her own,” said Peace Lutheran School Principal Joel Keup. “Michaela got the ball rolling for a project the entire school can participate in that will be a blessing and a great lesson in helping others.”

Witgen conducts a different mission project each year, a lesson she learned from her mother, Sarah Witgen. She picked the Toys for Tots campaign this year because her older brother, Lance Cpl. Andrew Massey, is a U.S. Marine.

“My sister is, without question, the most selfless and caring person I️ know. She is a young girl with a goal, and failure is not an option to her,” Massey said. “I️ am so proud that she has chosen to take on one of the missions of the Marine Corps and that at such a young age, she is making such a huge difference in her community.”

Anyone who would like to help Witgen reach her goal of 100 Toys for Tots donations can drop off new, unwrapped toys at Peace Lutheran School by Friday or Peace Lutheran Church by Sunday. Both are located at 3161 Lawndale Road in Saginaw Township.