Tidewater Tech Invites the Community to Donate to Wes’ Wish Toy Drive

Tidewater Teach participates in the 10th Annual Wes’ Wish Toy Drive to collect toys and other items to distribute to children battling cancer and their families.


Written by Jul DeGeus

Tidewater Tech has partnered with The Wes Strong Foundation to raise toys and other donations for children fighting cancer and their families. The campus has volunteered to be a drop-off location for the items and is located at 4535 East Princess Anne Rd. in Norfolk. The community is encouraged to bring gifts or send packages to the campus from now until December 11th. Guest should practice social distancing and wear a mask when dropping off donation items to the campus.

Wes’ Wish Toy Drive began in 2011 when 5-year-old Wes Pak, who had just been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, wanted to give all of his toys away to the other children at his clinic fighting sickness alongside him. Thus, the toy drive was born. What started with just 5 little red wagons filled with toys has now grown to be able to help many families across Hampton Roads. Wes continued to help collect, sort, and deliver toys to CHKD up until he passed away in 2018. Today, the foundation carries on the toy drive in his memory.

“Each year, we celebrate the season by creating our own version of an Angel Tree with our students’ children being the recipients of the gifts,” said Campus Executive Director Paula Massey. “While this is an initiative near and dear to my heart, when I spoke with my counterpart, Ashley Odon at Aviation Institute of Maintenance in Norfolk and learned of the #Westrong Foundation, I knew Tidewater Tech was going all in! 2020 has been a year of struggle and challenge for so many families in our communities. Knowing we have an opportunity to help families experience a happy holiday just from us doing what we always do is a reward beyond measure.”


While the drive has lifted a huge burden for many families fighting childhood cancer in the local area, two age groups are always lacking in support: the teens and babies. Hunter’s Smile Sponsors can donate $150 to provide gifts for teenagers and infants with no shopping required. This sponsor package is in memory of Hunter Lee. For individuals looking to sponsor a family, the Gavin’s Smile Box collects a $500 donation to shop in support of a local pediatric family. This box was created in memory of Gavin Rhodes. All sponsors will be displayed the day of the Toy Drive Expo as well on foundation material passed out to each family.


Tidewater Tech’s sister school, Aviation Institute of Maintenance, is also a donation site for Wes’ Wish Toy Drive. The campus is located at 2329 E. Little Creek Road in Norfolk and can be reached at (757) 363-2121.


For more information or questions, please call Tidewater Tech at (757) 858-8324.

About Tidewater Tech

Tidewater Tech is a career training school that specializes in trade vocations including Auto Technician, Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), Building Maintenance and Repair and Welding. The school offers professional facilities, knowledgeable instructors, day or evening classes, job placement assistance, and is accredited by the Commission of the Council of Occupational Education (COE). Tidewater Tech is certified to Operate by SCHEV. Learn more at www.tidewatertechtrades.edu or like them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/TidewaterTech.edu/.