On the outer edge of childhood, the group of Central Valley High School students who delivered 1,000 stuffed animals to the Christmas Bureau last week connected a bit with the toys before handing them over.
Cora Van Dyke, 17, named a husky Mishka.
“I saw it, and I bonded,” said Van Dyke (standing at left in the illustration above).
Mishka was destined for another owner – one of thousands of children from low-income families who receive Christmas gifts from the bureau – but they had their time together on the ride to the fairgrounds.
A talking Elmo doll wouldn’t stop talking. “Tickle Elmo,” he directed the students. “Hug Elmo.”
They tried, to no avail.
“He won’t shut up if I hug him,” said Sophia Dien, 18 (at right in the illustration).
The girls and other members of the school’s Technology Student Association collected the toys before a recent CV basketball game. Offering gift certificates as prizes, they placed wrapped boxes at center court and directed fans to toss their toys from courtside. If your toy landed in a box – or close – you won.
“We had people come in with bags of animals,” said Katie Wardsworth, 17 (second from right; Natasha Saric, 17, is second from left).
The more than 80 members of CV’s Technology Student Association build bridges and robots and work on photography and computer-assisted design projects. They also do community service projects. Their stuffed animals will supplement the toys paid for by donations to the Christmas Fund, as will the 5,409 stuffed toys collected at the Spokane Chiefs game Sunday – a record number for the Chiefs’ annual Teddy Bear Toss.
As the CV group delivered their animals Thursday, bureau volunteers snagged a couple of the biggest and best for the toy room, including Elmo.
“We’ll miss him,” Dien said.