Kathy Helbling and her son, Will, were stopped at a red light when he noticed firefighters assembled there, asking for donations for Toys for Tots.
And right there, right then in the car he asked: What can I do to help?
Will, 9, a third-grader, said it made him sad to think of kids like him waking up on Christmas morning without any gifts to grace their trees.
So he enlisted the help of his mom to help him find local organizations that would accept gently-used toys and books. The pair then printed fliers to let everyone in his Timber Run community know that donations could be picked up or dropped off at their home.
What happened next surprised even his mom.
"I was completely overwhelmed by people's overwhelming generosity," she said.
Especially her friend Danielle Meuhlbauer-McKain, who helped put the word out at My Child's Place—an organization with which their family had worked.
The foyer to the Helbling home is now consumed by a Christmas tree and boxes and boxes (and bags and bags) of toys donated by neighbors and friends.
Helbling added: "People are already asking if this will be an annual event."
Will—who said he and his mom still have to clean and deliver the toys to places such as Cecil Volunteer Fire Department, Washington Christian Outreach, Domestic Violence Service of South Western PA, Ms. Ida's Child Center, Pathways, Early Inevention—said it will be.
"It makes me happy and excited to help the little kids," he said.
Editor's Note: It's not too late to donate! The Helbling Family said those who want to donate should email them email@example.com. Also, they have someone willing to donate a boy's bike—but they don't have a home to send it to. If you know a local boy who wants a bike for Christmas, the family asks that you contact them. A photo of the bike is attached.