The holiday season is a time for family and friends.
For stuffed animals, the holiday season is a time of second chances with new owners, thanks to local elementary students.
A friendly competition among students at Highcroft Ridge Elementary School has yielded a mountain of toys collected for a stuffed animal drive. In one week, the pile of toys grew to more than 2,100 toys.
The competition, which saw grade-against-grade, produced not only big numbers from the school in general, but from individual students, as well. First-grader Blake Mueller donated ten animals himself.
"I just found some that I didn't play with anymore, and I thought they would like some," Mueller said.
Each toy will be cleaned by Stanley Steamer, then distributed to local charities, hospitals, and first-responders.
The toy drive bred generosity, as well as excitement from both students and their parents.
"The kids were excited knowing their stuffed animals were going to someone else who would love them," Principal Aaron McPherson said. "Parents were excited to have a less stuffed animals in their house."
The first graders brought in the most animals with 577. While the victory will bring the students an extra recess, it will also bring toys to those without.
"It was great to see such an outpouring of care and respect for kids (the students) haven't met yet," McPherson said.
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