Photo of Gaber Toth and Hungarian Children

Gabor Toth '13: Serving His Hometown

Photo of Gabor TothBy Maegan Beasley ’13

Gabor Toth ’13, a senior economics and finance major, proves that 4,800 miles is insignificant when a desire to serve one’s community is strong. Last summer, he flew to Hungary after raising $750 to donate 20 soccer balls and 20 basketballs at four public elementary and high schools in his hometown of Pest. Gabor took the initiative “to increase outdoor activity and promote a positive attitude towards sports.”

An honor student, member of McKendree’s Bearcat Rotaract Club, and tennis player, Gabor said he “always had an idea to help” his country. He read that when kids play outdoors, it enhances their focus in the classroom, so he wanted to create a plan involving athletics. “I felt like this would be a nice thing to do, so I passed the idea on and started working,” he said.

He quickly started collecting funds. The Bearcat Rotaract Club contributed $150 from a “dorm storm” event. Gabor took this donation and visited other local Rotary clubs last summer. “I did presentations for them to explain the purpose for my project,” he said. Five other Rotary groups, as well as individuals, matched the Bearcats’ donation for a total of $750.

To avoid the costly shipping expense, Gabor purchased the balls on a trip back to Hungary. The owner of LionSport, a local sporting goods store, also contributed to the project, increasing the collection to $1,000. With this money, Gabor purchased high quality, durable soccer balls and girls’ basketballs to distribute to four schools, including one he had attended.

“The schools were really surprised and happy,” he said. “They needed any help they could get and were really thankful for the donations. This is a good thing for the kids.”

Gabor wanted his project not only to promote outdoor activity for children, but also to spread awareness among American students. “Hungarian schools aren’t like American schools. Their budget is low and the first thing they cut is sports,” he said. He hopes to continue his project annually, after he graduates from McKendree in May. “I am really grateful for Rotaract, Dr. Martha Eggers and Dr. Randy Wilson; I couldn’t have done this without them,” he said.