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Six-year-olds sell their beloved toys for Haiti

Garibaldi Highlands Elementary students initiate fundraiser for earthquake relief

When six-year-old Teighen Pascual and her friend Brighton Gaddes realized that Haitian children were orphaned and homeless, they had to do something to help.

Last week they and their friends initiated a fundraiser in the Garibaldi Highlands, and its success has motivated them to once again sell "Stuffies for Haiti" this Saturday afternoon (Jan. 24) at Save On Foods.

The decision to initiate a fundraiser came while discussing the tragedy facing Haitians, what it means, and how lucky their families are, said Teighen's mother Amber Pascual.

"It's everywhere and I'm not keeping it a secret -it is what it is," said Pascual.

But what she didn't expect was that Teighen and Brighton would take it upon themselves to try and help.

"It was because they don't have houses, and some of them don't have moms and dads," said Pascual. "So we went on the UNICEF site and saw how far they're money could go."

The girls' first thought was to give young earthquake victims their toys, and when Amber suggested the kids might not need toys, they thought of money.

That idea blossomed into a fundraiser where students from Mr. Lake's Garibaldi Highlands Elementary Grade 1 class donated their own beloved stuffed animals to sell - not such an easy parting for some kids.

"Some [toys] were very precious, some [kids] didn't want to, they cried over it, but they did anyway," she said.

It all seemed worth it Friday (Jan. 22) when the initiative turned out surprisingly successful.

"It was amazing," said Pascual. "A tiny little idea evolved into $228 in an hour."

A group of kids stood on the corner Perth Drive and The Boulevard, set up a table and starting attracting attention in a big way.

"They made posters and sang and said 'stuffies for Haiti, stuffies for Haiti,' and were yelling and yelling and yelling, and before you know people weren't even taking stuffies, they were just giving money," said Amber. "It was really neat."

Initially the girls suggested a sale price of $1 per stuffy, but Pascual suggested a by donation fee might be more appropriate, and that led to the biggest surprise for the girls, said Pascual.

"People were coming by with $20 for one stuffed animal then they said 'Wow, look at what we can do.'"

The money has already been donated to UNICEF. But the kids' efforts are not over yet. They had so many stuffed toys left over, since numerous people simply donated money without taking the toys, that they're bringing the fundraiser to Save On Foods Saturday (Jan. 24) from 3 to 5 p.m., said Pascual.

Although the initial project mainly involved a small group of kids, including Spencer Pascual, Robyn and Heidi Schenk, Isabella Feitz, Emmy Fietz, Teagan Chelswick, Jack Kitchen, Molly Kitchen and Marlowe Gaddes, more kids are getting involved, said Pascual.

"I think the children, after doing it, realized how to be successful and how to get the word out. It's kind of catching on, so more kids are saying 'Oh I could do that.'"

The kids will be selling their toys at Save On Foods in the Chieftain Mall from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday (Jan. 20).