This week, I witnessed firsthand two very important truths. The first, is that my car can actually accommodate over 500 passengers—if they are of the stuffed animal variety. The second, is that the pure joy produced by a gift given out of true, selfless love is immeasurable.
I witnessed these truths thanks to the Toy Crane Project, a creation of Kason and Koleson Wright, ages 9 and 6. These young boys seem to have a natural talent for operating the toy crane. The skill and ability they possess is great, but their hearts and their capacity to love and care about others is even greater.
Kason and Koleson came up with the idea for this project after an especially successful run at the toy crane. As they traveled home, arms full of stuffed animals, they thought about the children in Oklahoma who had lost their stuffed animals and toys in the recent tornado. They wanted to share with them. They asked their friends and others to share their stuffed animals too, and the Toy Crane Project was born.
Inspired by their compassion and example, their parents, sisters and others helped to get the project up and running. Within days, a website, facebook page, YouTube video and donation sites were set up. Soon after, stuffed animals began coming in from all over the country.
Because I live in Oklahoma, I have personally witnessed the devastating physical and emotional effects of the tornados. When I heard about the Toy Crane Project I was very excited and very touched. I was so pleased to see so many people wanting to help. So, when I was asked to help deliver the stuffed animals to the children, I considered it a great honor and blessing.
A couple of weeks ago, eight big boxes full of stuffed animals were shipped to my house. This Wednesday, I delivered them all to the children of Plaza Towers Elementary in Moore, Oklahoma. As I drove my treasured cargo of stuffed animals past the gnarled trees and leveled houses, I thought about the children that I was bringing them to. I thought about how frightened they must have been in the midst of the tornado as their school fell down around them. I prayed that these stuffed animals and the love they represented would help bring them comfort.
As I went from classroom to classroom placing the animals in the hands of these beautiful children, I was overwhelmed by their outpouring of love and gratitude. I was touched by their stories and warmed by their smiles, hugs and thank yous.
My heart melted as I watched them hug their new stuffed animals so tightly and then melted more as they hugged me even tighter. I had to fight back tears as a precious little girl told me how happy she was to have the little stuffed dog she received, because it replaced the stuffed kitten that the tornado took from her. I will never forget the time that I spent with these children or how they touched my heart that day.
I am so very grateful to Kason, Koleson, their parents, sisters, friends and all of the people who donated their time, energy and stuffed animals to make the Toy Crane Project possible. I am so grateful to have shared in the joy these gifts brought to the children. When Kason and Koleson began the Toy Crane Project they said they wanted to, “make the kids in Oklahoma happy and feel loved and cared for.” Thanks to their selfless love and giving hearts, they did that and much, much, more….