BATTLE GROUND — When 13-year-old Rebekah Chhav came up with the idea of collecting stuffed animals and a few other items for someone who might appreciate them this holiday season, she knew she needed to call a meeting of the “Big Sisters Club” and run it by her 10-year-old sister, Madi.
“I had been thinking about the idea a lot and finally just decided one day, ‘OK, I need to ask Madi about this,’” Rebekah said. “I just wanted to be able to do something to make people happy, make them smile.”
“I thought it was a really good idea,” Madi said of her big sister’s plan. “I thought it was good that we were going to make people smile.”
Several weeks ago, Rebekah and Madi came to the conclusion that the way they wanted to bring joy to others this holiday season was by collecting stuffed animals and a few other items to give to others. Their first idea was to collect the items and distribute them to children at area hospitals. They contacted several hospitals, but were told that many of the children go home for the holidays and also that the hospitals have quite a few strict rules and regulations when it comes to accepting items for patients.
The girls said they then also decided to call around to a couple of assisted living homes to find out if they might be able to deliver the items to the senior citizens who live there. Both Mallard Landing Assisted Living and Creekside Place, both in Battle Ground, happily accepted the girls’ generous offer.
Madi and Rebekah will be delivering new items — some stuffed animals, warm hats, blankets/throws and possibly some scarves and gloves — to Creekside Place at 12:30 p.m. on Christmas Day and to Mallard Landing Assisted Living, also on Christmas Day, at 2:30 p.m. The girls said they plan to put together gift baskets with the different items and allow the residents to pick some things that they’d like.
“I think they (the residents) will be really happy and excited,” Rebekah said. “A lot of times during the holidays, people don’t think of older people and getting them presents.”
The girls said they do have some stuffed animals collected so far that they will give to the residents, but they definitely need to get more items. Their goals is to at least collect enough items for the 90 residents who live at Creekside and Mallard Landing combined. They’ve been getting a few donations, and their mom, Jamie, has been crocheting some hats. The girls said they are getting a few donations soon in order to go purchase some soft throws to include with their other gifts as well.
Although Rebekah and Madi haven’t done anything like this over the holidays on their own accord before, they have participated in several volunteer-type projects during the holidays with some organizations like their church. The two recalled that a couple of years ago, they participated as a family with a church group who raised money to buy toiletry items for men and women at Share Vancouver, and also helped to make and serve breakfast.
The girls have both visited Mallard Landing Assisted Living once before when Madi’s class went there during the holidays a couple of years ago to sing Christmas carols for the residents. They said they are both excited to visit Creekside Living to meet the residents and their great-grandpa who lives there.
The sisters are also planning to sing for the residents at Mallard Landing when they go there — Rebekah will play the piano and Madi will sing.
“I’m a little nervous about singing,” Madi said. “We still need to practice some more.”
Madi, who is a fourth grader at Captain Strong Primary in Battle Ground, said she enjoys spending her free time doing any kind of art — painting, drawing and more. She said she loves using oil pastels and likes to do still life paintings. She said her favorite subject in school, aside from art, is probably math.
Rebekah is in eighth grade at Tukes Valley Middle School in Battle Ground and calls herself “the musician of the family.” She plays both the flute and the piano. She said she also likes to doodle sometimes and likes to write occasionally. Her favorite subject in school is history.
“They always have these ‘ideas,’” the girls’ mom, Jamie, laughed. “When they first came to us and said they had an idea, we weren’t sure what it was going to be. Then they told us their idea, and we weren’t really surprised. These girls are always wanting to do things for other people.”
Anyone who would like to donate over the next few weeks to help the girls purchase the items they will distribute on Christmas Day, they can find out how to do so by contacting Jamie at (360) 843-0580.