Wilton donations to the Toys for Tots program far surpassed those of last year and Middlebrook School played a big part in that.

While he did not have a hard count, Matt McMahon estimated Wilton was up 50 percent over last year. “We stuffed the Westy truck to the ceiling,” he said. McMahon is the local coordinator for this area’s drive, which ended Dec. 15. Each year the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve collects new, unused toys for distribution to local families in need.

The Marine Corps Reserve in Ridgefield is the hub for the Northwest Fairfield County Toys for Tots campaign that serves nine towns: Bethel, Brookfield, Danbury, New Fairfield, New Milford, Newtown, Ridgefield and Weston and Wilton.

Middlebrook’s haul was added to those collected by Wilton firefighters and police officers and many stores and businesses around town.

At Middlebrook, students in sixth, seventh and eighth grade collected several hundred toys, enough to fill 10 Toys for Tots boxes, as well as three bicycles and two scooters.

Friday morning, Dec. 13, students were still streaming into the main lobby delivering last-minute donations before a truck lent by Westy’s storage in Wilton came by to pick it all up.

The drive was short but intense, according to members of the student government that organized the collection. Boxes were only up for about a week and a half. Several of the students stood outside Village Market in the drizzle last Tuesday holding a bake sale that yielded $600. The next day, they were off at Walmart to spend it all on toys and games.

“We went to Walmart and spent it on toys for kids not as fortunate as us,” Liam Kiernan said.

The school is divided into colors and Debbie Mallozzi, a science teacher in 8 Yellow, set up a box to accept monetary donations. Enough was collected to enable her to purchase three bikes and two scooters.

As an incentive, the 8 Yellow teachers promised that any child who donated a toy would get breakfast made by their teachers the day before the holiday recess, which begins Dec. 20.

“The kids did a really good job,” said Marnia Kiernan, the eighth grade social studies teacher who organized the drive with 8 Yellow Team Leader Alison Rubin.

“It feels really good to give back,” said student Olivia Tate. “I want to make sure everybody’s really happy on Christmas.”