BEND, Ore. - A special Terrebonne girl used her arts and craft skills to raise more than $400 for the Marine Corps' Toys for Tots program.
This year, Bend Toys for Tots expects to give gifts to more than 5,000 kids.
Many of those kids will see the result of Ella Rawlins' generosity, but it's the way she got the idea that makes it special.
"You know, in society, there is hope through this 5-year-old little girl who, on her own, took it and said, 'I want to help.' How better could that be?" one of the program's coordinators, Susie Fagen-Wirges, said Monday. "That's my Christmas story this year."
Rawlins wanted to raise money to get her brother a new dresser, but when her parents told her they could afford it, she came up with another idea.
"I just wanted to help people, so kids could have toys," Ella said.
Ella made bracelets, necklaces and rings and sold them to her church community and neighbors to buy toys for the Bend Toys for Tots.
Her mother Lisa said she was surprised by the idea, but encouraged her daughter to keep going.
"I'm just overwhelmed with the amount of support that Ella has received," Lisa said. "It's just been amazing that people have wanted to help her and support her cause."
Ella's parents have made sure she knows she's more fortunate than other kids her age, a lesson that motivated her to help in the first place.
"Well, because they get to have stuff, just like other people," Ella said.
Fagen-Wirges said she's thankful for Ella's generosity, because of all the kids it will affect come Christmas Day.
"On Christmas morning, there's going to be some children around this whole area that are going to go under that tree and go, 'Haaaah! It's just what I wanted!' Fagen-Wirges said. "It's just wonderful."
Ella said she would like to send those kids a special message.
"Merry Christmas!" Ella said.
If you'd like to help Ella and Toys for Tots, you can make a donation at any of the boxes around town, or online by visiting http://bend-or.toysfortots.org/local-coordinator-sites/lco-sites/default.aspx. Friday is the deadline to do so.