(From left) Jennyka Cozzuol (11), Emma Vanderlee (10) and Makayla Bennett (10) were inspired to collect toys to give to kids in hospital after visiting Surrey Memorial’s pediatric ward last winter. (James Smith photo)

North Delta girls hold toy drive for BC Children’s Hospital

Idea came to Emma Vanderlee, Makayla Bennett and Jennyka Cozzuol after visiting SMH pediatric ward

At a time of year when many children are anxiously counting the days until they can unwrap those presents under the Christmas tree, three North Delta girls are working to make sure every kid has that chance.

For the second straight year, Emma Vanderlee (10), Makayla Bennett (10) and Jennyka Cozzuol (11) are holding a toy drive benefiting BC Children’s Hospital.

After a visit to Surrey Memorial’s pediatric ward last winter, the girls were inspired to do what they could to make sure that kids who have to spend the holidays in hospital still get to enjoy a merry Christmas.

“I think it’s important because since they can’t go home, I want [the hospital] to be kind of like home for Christmas,” Makayla said.

They brought the idea of holding a toy drive to Jennyka’s mom, who in turn brought it to her work, North Delta’s Sundowner Pub (11970 64th Ave.).

The girls decorated a box where patrons at the pub could drop off their donations, and managed to collect roughly $3,000 worth of toys and $650 in cash.

SEE ALSO: North Delta girls collect toys for sick kids

The girls are hoping to surpass that this year by collecting even more toys and setting a goal of $800 in cash donations. They got started early, raising $276 by selling homemade “slime,” bracelets and hot chocolate at their school’s gift fair.

“I kind of want to make sure we have enough toys for most of the kids that want toys in the hospital, because I think kids deserve toys because it’s Christmas,” Jennyka said.

“I’m hoping that we get quite a few.”

The toy drive will be held at the Sundowner on Dec. 11, from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., but people can drop off their donations anytime between now and then.

If it’s too big to go in the box, they can call Michelle at 604-591-7974 and arrange to drop it off.

Donations will be delivered to BC Children’s Hospital on Dec. 17.

Emma’s mother Kelly said that Children’s Hospital is especially in need of toys for babies and teenagers, as most of the hospital’s toy donations aren’t suited for younger or older kids.

Jennyka, Emma and Makayla personally vouch that Hatchimals, L.O.L. Surprise! dolls, Littlest Pet Shop, Lego and Fingerlings will be big hits with the kids.

“It makes my heart happy when we can bring smiles to people who can’t be home for Christmas,” Emma said.

“It feels good that we can kind of make it feel a little like home. I really wish we could be there to hand the presents out and hang out with the kids all day and let them know we care and love them, that they have three new friends.”


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