NORTHWEST PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — Valentine’s Day is all about roses and chocolates. But let’s face it, you kind of feel like a loser if you don’t get anything.
One student at Forest Park Elementary in Northwest Portland, apparently didn’t want anyone to feel left out on the holiday. So, he devised a way to “Pay it Forward.” It involved crayons, gift cards, yo-yo’s and a host of other goodies.
On Tuesday evening, a group of 5th graders at the school formed an assembly line, filling dozens of shiny gift bags for Valentine’s Day with kid-friendly things. The students were making a list and checking it twice.
“Puzzles, we need puzzles!” one child exclaimed upon realizing a gift bag was short an item. The shiny metallic-colored bags were also stuffed with white tissue paper that had red hearts on it. The students are planning to give the bags to children who are in the hospital.
“We were able to fill a bag for every single child at Doernbecher and Randall Children’s Hospitals. That’s about 200 children in total,” Forest Park parent Kelly Manning said.
Manning said her 5th grade son, Chance Summers, is the brainchild behind the project. Her reaction when he first mentioned it?
“I thought — whoa! — that’s not a bad idea!” Manning said the kids got help with the bag items from the Dollar Store and Intel, which supplied pens and yo-yo’s. Manning said the students also got a discount on iTunes gift cards.
“I was just bored on a day and I figured, well, I’m so happy to have everything I have, why not help other kids?” Summers said. “I wanted to make their lives better.”
His fellow classmates gleefully hopped on the Valentine’s Day bandwagon.
“We felt really bad about all the kids in the hospitals that don’t get to go out and get candy like all of us kids do. So, we were thinking, well, if we could help them, it would be great,” 5th grader Palin Layne said.
The students call their project “Kids Helping Kids.” They’re excited to deliver the gifts to the hospitals, “just to see their exciting faces,” Jake Pinkstaff said.
Student Noah Oliver put it simply, “We just want to give them a good Valentine’s Day.”
KOIN 6 News was provided a gift bag as a souvenir. It contained crayons, pens, markers, candy hearts, an LED clip-on book light, a coloring book and a yo-yo. The sticker on the bag read, “Forest Park Elementary LOVES children at Doernbecher & Randall Children’s Hospitals.”