rori bennett wallaceburg ronald mcdonald house

In order to celebrate her 10th birthday, a Wallaceburg girl has launched a fundraiser to support something dear to her heart.

Rori Bennett started gathering new toys this past Sunday Oct. 19 (her birthday) and will be until November 19, all for the Ronald McDonald House of Southwestern Ontario Christmas Room program.

“Since I was born they have helped Mom and Dad and I a lot,” she said. “When I was in the hospital when I was a baby they provided different supplies and they provided a place for me during surgeries and procedures. They allowed Dad to bring food back for me and Mom.”

Rori added: “Now that I am old enough… I thought about doing this for a really long time. I wanted to give it a try and it worked out really well, so I decided to do it again. I hope I get just as good as a response as I did last year.”

Rori said last year she gathered approximately 150 toys from the community.

“We put out six different bins and two of them we had to empty out twice,” she said. “I got different baby toys for girls and boys, different stuff for my age group, I got different types of stuffed animals. I was looking at it all when we dumped it on the bed when we were starting to sort it and I was like, wow I’ve got a lot of stuff.”

Rori said the Christmas Room program at the Ronald McDonald House helps lift the spirits of the children in the hospital during the holiday season.

“They’re probably really down and sad and they don’t get to spend Christmas with their extended family,” she said. “The program, they give a toy to each child to try and make them happier. I’m trying to make sure they don’t run out of toys. They have a full house quite a bit, which sometimes can be a lot of kids. I’m just trying to make sure I can help them.”

Rori and her family have lined up five drop-off locations across Wallaceburg:

– 780 Wallace St. rental office in unit 104

– Debbie McGonigle School of Dance

– St. James Anglican Church

– Sensations Hair Salon

– Holy Redeemer Parish Cluster located at Holy Family Church

Rori said she is looking for a wide-range of new toys, still in the package, but not in wrapping paper (due to allergies) for children ages zero to 18.

“Last year we had a lot of toys for kids ages zero to eight, but for nine and older we had maybe four or five,” she said. “So we went to the store and grabbed one or two toys for my age group. We bought a board game and a few dolls, and masks and actions figures for boys. This is what me and my friends are into as far as girls stuff and this is what I’ve seen the boys in my class wear or play with, so that kind of helped me.”

If anyone is interested in becoming a drop-off location, contact Rori’s mother Kim McAuley at 519-627-6083 or by e-mail at kimmcauley@live.ca.

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