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Memorial Junior High hosts first Toys for Tots event, one student surprised by special gift


LANSING, Ill. (December 23, 2022) – Memorial Junior High School hosted their first Toys for Tots, with a surprise for one eighth grade student.

Toys for Tots

Associate Principal for Operations & Activities, Mrs. Foster, applied for the program, and was approved. The toys were provided courtesy of Joliet Marine Corps — the first time Memorial has been a recipient of the program.

During their assigned P.E. time, the 870 students at the school came to the gym and selected a gift of their choice. There was a variety of toys, such as sports balls, dolls, and scooters.

Toys for Tots is an annual program of the U.S. Marine Corps. According to the official website, the basic mission of the Marine Toys for Tots Program is to collect new unwrapped toys and distribute those toys to less fortunate children at Christmas. The primary goal is, through the gift of a new toy, to help bring the joy of Christmas and send a message of hope.

This year marks the 75th celebration of the program. Over the the decades, over 281 million children have received gifts.

A holiday surprise

During the eighth grade giveaway, one of the students received a special gift. Rickiah Peeples was surprised by her brother, Ricky Peeples, a 2018 Memorial graduate who has been away completing his military training.

A video of the touching moment is below:

“It feels good to see my family,” said Ricky.

Pamela and Ricky Peeples Sr. were excited to have their family together again.

“They always ask ‘When is Ricky coming home?’,” said Ricky Sr.

“It’s the best feeling in the world, I have all my children home. Thank you to Dr. Ross for making this possible,” said Pamela.

“We are so proud that he is using his efforts to represent our country and keep our country safe,” said Dr. Ross.

Memorial Jr. High School is located at 2721 Ridge Road in Lansing.

Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton R. Arthur
Quinton received his Bachelor of Arts in English from Northern Illinois University and his Master of Science in Journalism from Roosevelt University. In addition to reporting for The Lansing Journal and the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle, he volunteers with 100 Black Men of Chicago, Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League, Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Burst Into Books, and various other organizations. A south suburban resident since 2004, Quinton is passionate about telling the unsung stories of the community.


  1. Did every student get a gift?? My understanding is that people give those roys

    for children whose parents can afford gifts for them.

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