BY JORGE BARRIENTOS Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Shaina Looker and Sierra Moore believe every kid should be getting a gift on Christmas.
So for the third year in a row, they'll be collecting hundreds of toys for some of the area's neediest children.
Shaina and Sierra, by the way, are sixth-graders at Norris Middle School, which means they've been organizing and coordinating a toy drive since just before their fourth-grade school year.
They came up with "S&S Christmas Toy Drive" after their parents took them to a local homeless shelter to serve sack lunches.They were surprised to see several children there.
"We didn't realize there were so many homeless kids," Sierra said. "That's a rough life."
They decided to help some of those kids as the holidays neared, and eventually teamed up with Rollerama West to host a toy drive skating event. Bring a new, unwrapped toy and you can skate for $2.
By Christmastime during the drive's first year, the girls collected more than 150 toys, and more the second year. This year they are donating the toys to the Alliance Against Family Violence and Sexual Assault.
Campaigns like Shaina and Sierra's help the Alliance continue its annual Santa Shop, where several hundred local children receive gifts.
"Sometimes this is the only thing they're getting in the year," said Taneil Green-Wood, Alliance clinical services manager. "We really do depend on the community during the holidays. We're very grateful to the girls. It is a big deal."
The two are straight-A students, athletes and Girl Scouts, receiving bronze awards, the highest honor a Girl Scout Junior can achieve.
Sierra plays travel softball. Shaina plays soccer and is on the student council, handling sixth-grade activities.
Overall, the girls are standout students, Norris Superintendent Wally McCormick said.
"I think they're great examples for what we expect from student leaders," he said.
Their mothers -- Monique Looker and Julie Moore -- are proud, too. They said the two girls do nearly all of the fundraising labor themselves: asking neighbors and friends to donate to greeting attendees at the door at Rollerama.
"This is their baby," Monique Looker said. "It makes me smile."
The collection event is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Wednesday at Rollerama West, 7850 Brimhall Road.
"It's fun," Sierra said. "You get to help out and then skate around."
Shaina and Sierra said they plan to continue their drive though high school.
"It's a good cause, and we like putting a smile on their (children's) faces," Shaina said.
Those who would like to help but can't make it to Rollerama West are asked to drop off gifts at Norris School District, 6940 Calloway Drive.