CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — A 10-year-old Chesterfield County girl has started a toy drive to help kids affected by Hurricane Harvey. And this weekend, she’s getting help from the sheriff’s department.
Five years ago Lauren Seals and her family lost practically everything to Hurricane Sandy. The storm left their home in shambles, including all of her then 5-year-old daughter Meaghan’s toys.
“Constantly me and my husband looking for a place to lay our heads each night, making sure our daughter was safe and we never thought how it was affecting her,” Lauren Seals explained.
That December, Meaghan received a big surprise when strangers donated toys to her for Christmas. It wasn’t until this year that Lauren realized how much of an impact that had on her daughter when Meaghan came to her last month after seeing the destruction caused by Hurricane Harvey.
She said to me, ‘mommy I want to help these kids and give them toys like I was given toys because that was the thing I remembered the most,'” Lauren recalled.
So, she started a website, Toys 4 Texas, sharing her story and how a toy meant the world to her after she lost everything.
“It’s something that most people wouldn’t think about,” Lauren Seals added.
When the Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office heard about the idea, they immediately jumped on board. Lauren’s basic academy classmates decided they would help by holding a toy drive at Toys ‘R’ Us this Saturday.
Lt. Stephen McLeod said law enforcement know first hand how much of a difference a toy can make in a traumatic situation for kids and their parents.
“We see often times just a small stuffed animal that we keep in our car helps to calm them down and take some of the anxiety away at that moment,” he said. “It’s definitely a relief to see your kid be happy.”
While the drive will bring many kids joy, there is already one mom who says she couldn’t be happier.
“Made me very happy to know that she thought of these other kids as other people thought of her and it made me happy she remembered the good stuff that came out of the storm,” Lauren Seals said.
Click here for more information on this weekend’s toy drive.