NEWTON, NJ – A young Merriam Avenue School student is collecting new stuffed animals for the children and families staying at the Ronald McDonald House. Haeleigh Lestz asked her third grade teacher Nik Lasso if she could do a project in class.
Lestz told Lasso she wanted to collect the soft toys because she “felt it was important that the children and their siblings had stuffed animals because they needed to feel more comfortable in an uncomfortable situation,” according to Lasso.
Lestz shared her idea with her third grade classmates and it “started to snowball quickly,” Lasso said. Children in other grades as well as community members have made donations. ThorLabs employees have picked up the initiative making donations as well.
She continues to collect new stuffed animals. Donations can be dropped off in the front office of Merriam Avenue School. Monetary donations will be used to purchase additional stuffed animals.
Lestz is asking for new stuffed animals only because that is what the Ronald McDonald House requested.
“It is not common these days that children that young have selfless ideas like she does and is able to execute their vision,” Lasso said.