Since starting the Band of Brothers Foundation, I’ve been continually overwhelmed by the generosity of donors who want to help us in providing hope and education to needy children all over the world. Especially the willingness of American children that are exposed to how others live at an early age. This past month I was beyond moved when Principal Todd Schmidt, local Girl Scout leader Courtney Richards and her 4th grade troop, parent leaders at school, along with all 446 children at Harbor View Elementary School in Corona Del Mar, Newport Beach, California, agreed to a friendship exchange and contributed to our Band of Brothers used stuff animal drive for the kids on the island of Molocaboc in the Philippines.
A month ago, one of the schools we work with in Molocaboc was hit by Typhoon Haiyan, one of the strongest and deadliest Typhoons on record. Although the school is still standing, it suffered major damage, as did most of the homes on the island. The children and their families, who had very little to begin with, found themselves with even less after the storm hit. When my two daughters learned about what had happened, we spoke about introducing Molocabac to the kids at their school as a way of learning how other children live on the other side of the world.
When we introduced the idea to Harbor View School’s principal, the Girl Scouts immediately started a used toy drive so they could collect and send the toys to this remote little island where children needed a reason to play even more than they did.
The toy drive was about more than just giving toys to those less fortunate; it was about creating a feeling of hope for the kids while we started rebuilding their homes. Most of these children have no home and they need something to keep their mind off of that fact. Many will sleep outside, in other friends’ homes or in the wreckage of their home for months while we help them rebuild. Many have never seen a stuffed animal or toy let alone had one of their very own. Stuffed animals of this size and quality are only available to wealthier people. These are toys that have been well-loved and taken care of by my girl’s classmates, and donating them was a real act of generosity and compassion.
On December 9th, the toy drive collected 100 used toys and stuffed animals, on the 10th it collected 110 toys, on the 11th 185 toys, on the 12th another 100 and on the 13th it collected an amazing 300 toys. All together the drive collected 795 used stuffed animals and dolls and super heroes and little cars. On Molocaboc, of the 900 children total, 600 are elementary children, so this means there are more than enough toys for each child to receive their own special gift.
In January, the children at Molocaboc will be making friendship bracelets and the children at Harbor View School will doing the same to exchange with their new friends.
Leave it to children to remind us that you don’t need to be a millionaire to help those less fortunate – you just have to be willing to give.
This was 300 of the 800 stuffy’s. We probably can say the kids efforts is one of the largest used bear mobilization in USA history by children. Kids age 4-12 from Corona Del Mar/ Newport Beach California worked together to collect 800 used stuffed animals to send to the children at Molocaboc island.
TROY MIKULKA is the CO-Founder of the Band of Brothers Foundation. His passion for starting Band of Brothers was fed by his experiences of living a very modest childhood and his eye-opening view of the real world during his travels as helicopter crew in the United States Marines. Troy believes that with success comes a responsibility to balance your privileged life with a serious effort to put your scratch on improving the world for others.
Help a child living in poverty gain the freedom to dream and learn: We hope this paper was valuable to you. If it was please pay it forward and make a donation to help a child. See the children and orphanages or school projects we support in Cambodia, Costa Rica, Myanmar, Philippines and Vietnam.