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Pacers, Lids Spark Smiles Across Indianapolis Public Schools

An Arsenal Tech student recently helped sort and deliver 4,700 toys donated to IPS by the Indiana Pacers.

In a heartwarming showcase of community spirit, the Indiana Pacers and Lids have brightened the lives of countless families throughout Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) during this holiday season.

The Pacers generously donated 30 pallets of toys, totaling around 4,700 items, to the district as part of the franchise’s Season of Giving project. The team is distributing thousands of toys throughout central Indiana and across the state to youth organizations.

Indianapolis-based sports gear retailer Lids also reached out to the district to support families by providing various gifts to 31 unaccompanied high school students and 20 middle schoolers.

The impact of this benevolent gesture is most evident in the radiant smiles now adorning the faces of students at Clarence Farrington Elementary School. 

Emily Chestnut, the school’s assistant principal, believes these gifts are important on a variety of levels.

“As adults, we often overlook the significance of playtime in a child’s life,” Chestnut said.  “However, providing toys to young students goes beyond mere entertainment. It fosters essential skills development, creativity, and mental well-being. 

“Moreover, the act of sharing generosity with our partners can create a ripple effect of positivity and empathy in our communities,” she said.  “We know the importance of providing toys to young students and how crucial it is for our partners to join us in this act of generosity.”

Tiffany Parker, Family and Community Engagement Manager at IPS, directed the delivery and distribution of the toys and other items. To facilitate a seamless distribution process, she called upon Shortridge High School Athletics and the Arsenal Tech High School girls’ basketball team. Together they oversaw sorting 30 pallets of toys.

Parker praised the student-athletes, “The kids did an amazing job. They both sorted all the toys in about 1.5 hours each. It would have taken me days to sort.”

Chestnut also noted that the act of providing toys to young students goes beyond mere entertainment.

“It plays a crucial role in their cognitive, social, and emotional development,” she said. “By fostering creativity, enhancing social skills, and promoting emotional well-being, toys create a positive and enriching environment for children to thrive. 

“Additionally, our community partners, in this act of generosity, allow us to share the joy of giving and inspire a sense of compassion and empathy in our community. Let us come together and embrace the power of play and generosity for the betterment of our young students and society.”