‘It might change their lives’
Once eight-year-old Theo Stafford started collecting Christmas present donations for children, he couldn’t stop.
Now the Fort Langley resident has raised $84 and more than $300 in toys, school supplies and hygiene products for Operation Christmas Child all on his own.
“He just kept begging me to go out with him to collect more presents,” his mother Amie said.
In only one week, Theo managed to collect enough gifts for 12 Christmas boxes to be sent to children in developing countries.
“It’s helping poorer kids than me. It might change their lives,” he said.
His inspiration comes from his mother, who told him stories of when she used to collect for Operation Christmas Child.
“I mentioned to my son that I used to do the Christmas fund before he was born, and he just kept saying ‘can we go today, can we go today?’ He was very enthusiastic about it,” Amie said.
They started by visiting shops in Fort Langley. Amie would stand at the front door while Theo marched in alone to ask the owners for donations.
One shop in particular, Treasure Landing, donated nearly $200 in toys.
Even a gun and ammunition store they visited in Lynden, Washington found something to donate.
“It was a really heartwarming experience,” Amie said.
“The people behind the counters eyes lit up and they were excited to help.”
After collecting the toys and raising $84 to pay for postage, Theo dropped the boxes off at the collection centre set up at George’s Meats, where he was greeted with more enthusiasm.
“We talked to a few people in there and they were all excited. They were saying things to Theo like ‘way to go buddy,’” Amie said.
Theo says his favourite part was “just laying all of the toys on my bed and seeing how much there was.”
Thrilled with what he was able to collect this year, he plans to raise even more donations next Christmas.