COAL CITY – Seven-year-old Troy Creasy said goodbye to his Lightning McQueen cars, Buzz Lightyear action figures and at least 50 more of his toys this past weekend when he sold them to raise money for tornado victims.
“I just wanted to be kind,” Troy said.
Emily Creasy, Troy’s mother and owner of Papa Rick’s Pet Shop in Morris, said Troy wanted to give his toys to tornado victims after seeing the devastation endured by so many.
“It was all his idea,” Emily Creasy said. “When we saw the pictures of the families who had lost their homes he went to his room, started collecting his toys and asked me to set a table up at the store.”
At first, Troy wanted to give the toys away to any victims who wanted them. At his mother’s suggestion, Troy decided to sell the toys and collect donations instead.
“We put out a jar and people would throw in a couple bucks here and there,” Emily Creasy said Thursday. “He’s actually raised $65 so far.”
Creasy said the family still has a few toys left on the table and Troy intends to bring more. Troy said whatever toys he does not sell, he will donate to Toys for Tots.
Troy usually sorts through his toys every holiday season and donates them to a local thrift store or toy drive, his mother said.
“He knows that there are a lot of kids out there who don’t get toys,” Emily Creasy said. “He’ll ask me why Santa doesn’t bring toys to everyone, so it’s kind of hard to explain, but he still understands that a lot of kids out there don’t get presents.”
Emily Creasy said the family will leave out the toys for a few more days before taking the donations to a local organization working with those affected by the tornado.
“It is really blowing me away how generous he wants to be,” Emily Creasy said. “It’s a wonderful thing to see.”
In Channahon, three girls not much older than Troy also wanted to help with the tornado recovery.
Ten-year-old Jaimi Kadubec, 9-year-old Blayse Messino and 9-year-old Breana Smith – or, as they call themselves, “Three Girls with a Loom” – sold hand-made rubber band bracelets to raise money for the victims.
The girls sold the bracelets for $3 each and raised $117. They bought a Home Depot gift card with the money and delivered it Sunday to the United Methodist Church in Coal City.
Three Girls with a Loom began a few weeks ago when the girls – who all own their own looms – began making bracelets together. The girls, being animal lovers, originally wanted to donate the money to the Will County Humane Society.
“We started making them because we wanted to help the animals,” said Jaimi Kadubec.
When the tornado hit, the girls were encouraged to sell the bracelets for the tornado victims.
“It spread through word of mouth,” said Robert Kadubec, Jaimi’s father. “My wife and the other moms posted it on Facebook and people began contacting them.”
Now that they have made their donation to the tornado victims, the girls will continue raising money for the humane society, Robert Kadubec said.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “They’re learning to help out people in need by doing something they like.”
The Community Foundation of Grundy County, We Care, Operation St. Nick, the Mazon Bank and several other local entities have collected $140,000 for local tornado victims.
An additional $25,000 was raised through donations making the current, total amount $165,000, with donations still pouring in.
“The donations have come from far and wide,” said Julie Buck, executive director of Community Foundation of Grundy County. “We’ve had return addresses from other states and other cities.”
Buck said mini-grants are still available to Coal City and Diamond home and business owners who sustained damage during the tornado. Applications are due today, Dec. 6, and can be picked up at Diamond Village Hall, Coal City United Methodist Church or online at CFGrundycounty.com. Buck stressed that applicants need to provide photos of their damage in order to qualify for a grant.