Most people have never heard of “Project Magic School Bus” but they have heard of “The School District of Broward County” – the sixth largest public school system in the United States and the second largest in the state of Florida. The school system encompasses 340 elementary, middle, high schools and other centers of learning. Within the school district’s many departments lies Broward Student Services. The department includes a small group of School Social Workers who work directly with the children and families who are going through difficult times, whether it be abuse & neglect, homelessness, teen parents, substance abuse, and so many other issues which have an impact on a child’s education. It is through this department that each year, before Thanksgiving, the Harvest Drive collects and distributes food and household items to hundreds of local families in need. It is also through this department that new unwrapped toys are distributed only a few days before Christmas.
In order to obtain toys to distribute at this of year, the Student Services department is dependent on the allocation of toys from the annual SFPC Toys in the Sun Run. Unfortunately, this year, many participants in the “Toy Run” opted to give cash instead of bring a toy and although trucks were filled with bags upon bags of toys, they were also distributed to many other deserving charities in the area which left the School District with only 120 toys from this effort. As for the money collected at the Toys in the Sun Run, all of it goes to Joe DiMaggio Children’s hospital so it could not be used to supplement the shortage in toys which went to many charities in Broward and Miami-Dade counties. This is why “Project Magic School Bus” was established in 2013 by WeekendBroward. The idea was to bring awareness of the toy shortage and resolve it by bringing together fans of live music and the bands who play in local bars and restaurants to establish collections during their weekend parties.
In December of 2013, 600 toys were collected in less than a 2 week period thanks to the effort of local bands, fans of live music and the venues where they play who came together via Facebook to promote the cause. Can they do it again this year? It’s hard to tell since some of the events which contributed last year are not repeating themselves this year and Facebook has been even less predicable in the ways that it distributes information to it’s users. Hundreds of kids, both young and teens, are secretly hoping to find something special under the tree come December 25th – wouldn’t it be nice if we could all come together once again and make the holidays special for someone less fortunate? Pay it forward by dropping off a new unwrapped gift when you see a band this Friday or Saturday night.
See a complete list of participating venues by visiting the Facebook event page at: www.facebook.com/events/761499910553458/
For more information on this effort, use the Contact Us form to send a message directly to WeekendBroward.
Here are a few photo’s from 2013: