Franklin Regional elementary toy drive helps to brighten Christmas
By Daveen Rae Kurutz
Published: Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2013, 9:01 p.m.
Joey Rivardo loves to watch movies.
So this Christmas, the Heritage Elementary fourth-grader decided to share some of that love with children less fortunate.
“Kids who are needy, they don't have a bunch of movies to watch,” Joey said. “They need toys at Christmas to have fun.”
Joey's movies were among the hundreds of toys and gifts collected by the three Franklin Regional elementary schools during the past several weeks. The toys were donated to the Salvation Army to be distributed to families throughout Westmoreland and Allegheny counties.
At Newlonsburg Elementary, kindergarten teacher Christy Armeo said students filled two large boxes with toys for children.
Heritage Elementary exceeded its goal of 250 toys, said Brett Bielewicz, a fourth-grade teacher at Heritage who organized the drive this year. Bielewicz said he didn't know the total amount of toys donated by children, parents and teachers. The annual collection teaches the children to think of others who don't have as much as they do at the holidays, Bielewicz said.
“At Franklin Regional, we are sometimes very fortunate,” Bielewicz said. “It's not always made aware to some of the families and students that even in this community, there are families in need. With the toy drive, we step back and put in perspective the type of families that don't have the types of Christmas mornings (the students) are accustomed to.”
Bielewicz said he encourages students to pick out toys they enjoy or things they might have wanted when they were younger as gifts. This year, he said he saw all types of toys – Disney princess dolls, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle toys, books, puzzles, board games and computerized games.
“You name it, and I think it's come across my desk,” he said.
When 10-year-old Grace Hough was looking for a toy to donate, she went the artsy route and gave a pottery maker. It wasn't her first instinct, though.
“My mom thought too many kids would bring in Barbie dolls,” she said.
Grace said she thought it was fun to pick out a toy for another child.
“It's nice to know you're helping other people and other kids at Christmas,” she said.
Bielewicz said he hopes the toy drive helps students learn how blessed they are and what it means to give back to others.
“It's about the essence of the holiday and what it means to give,” Bielewicz said. “They learn why it means so much to those who didn't receive very much.
“It's about realizing that even one gift, no matter how big or how small, really means a lot to a kid who doesn't get those gifts at the holiday.”
Daveen Rae Kurutz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-856-7400, ext. 8627, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Outpouring of support for Franklin Regional comes from near, far
- Newtown counselors discuss how to cope with tragedy
- Monroeville’s rival hospitals worked together during crisis
- Franklin Regional seeks waiver of days lost in knife attack; victim improves
- Murrysville chief: I’m glad it wasn’t a firearm