5 Year-Old Rome Girl Helps Saves Christmas for Less Fortunate in CNY
Isabella may only be 5 years old, but she knows the true meaning of the season. The Rome girl is helping save Christmas for the less fortunate in central New York and she's been doing it since she was two.
Isabella, with the help of her little sister Liliana and a bunch of her friends, collect toys and monetary donations each year. The first year they brought in 550 toys. This year Isabella ended up with more than 1,000 toys from the community that she donated to Toys for Tots. "They came and picked up all the toys from our house and were so humbled, surprised and happy with the outcome," says mom Shannon Todora. "They sent a message letting us know many people at the organization cried when the toys arrived. They told us we saved Christmas."
Every year, Isabella's toy drive provides special moments for the family. This year Shannon says the moment came from a stranger. "We received a donation from someone we have never met who wanted to give to a local charity. He and his wife buy themed gifts every Christmas and this year his family is getting a card with a picture of the toys donated in their honor."
The idea for Isabella's toy drive came during a sleepless night. "I started this with a 3 am, couldn't sleep idea, of how to instill a bit of giving and community pride in Isabella," says Shannon who couldn't be more proud of what it's turned into today. "She never asks for any of the toys. She genuinely understands why we do this and wants to be hands on and help."
Isabella not only collects toys, teaming up with local businesses, she uses the monetary donations to buy more toys and warm clothing. "We went shopping and she stopped at the socks and asked if we could get one in every color for people who may not have homes or can be warm," says Shannon. "She wanted everyone to feel warm and cozy. I almost lost it in the middle of the store."