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Family Honors Daughter, Gives Back To Toys For Tots

CEDAR RAPIDS, IA (CBS/FOX28) - It was just a week ago that viewers rolled into Broadcast Park to make donations to the Toys for Tots Toy Drive.

Now, all of that good will is being put to good use. On Wednesday, volunteers worked to help distribute toys and food to families in need at Hawkeye Downs.

I would have to go into my disability money to try and do the best that I can, Wayne Friend, a Toys For Tots shopper said describing what Christmas would be like without the drive.

Instead, Friend had a stack of toys for his six year old son, Jabari. It even included items on Jabaris wish list like Hot Wheels.

It means the world! Friend said.

Filling bags like Friends started with people like Amy Blanchard.

We wanted to help people, Blanchard said.

Her drive to give comes from honoring who she's lost.

She always said, I'm going to change the world, and she will, through us,  Blanchard said about her daughter, Lauren.

Lauren Blanchard was just nine when she left the world. Her family of four was hit by a drunk driver a year ago. She was killed on impact.  Yet, Lauren had a wish that she left behind. She wished that every child would have a toy on Christmas.

She didn't believe that other people didn't get toys. Laurens sister, Taylor Blanchard, 8, said.

So her family and friends rounded up about 600 toys and quite a few food donations and brought them to Broadcast Park for the December 5th Toy Drive. On Wednesday, they showed up at Hawkeye Downs to pitch in again by helping folks shop.

 She probably thinks it's like good, and she's probably happy with us! Laurens best friend, Taylor Munson, 9, said of Lauren.

For the Blanchards, its an effort that honors Lauren, and the spirit of all children who find joy in Christmas.

I think they have a big heart. And I think they have to be spiritually connected to be able to move on and move forward in the name of the child, Friend said.

Amy agreed saying, She would be very proud.


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