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Child's Donation Boosts Toy Drive
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The value of a donation does not always depend on the amount. While donations for worthy causes abound at this time of year, one was for exactly $1 but came from the personal funds of a child.

Arianna Gutierrez, a second grader at Crossroads Elementary School, donated $1 of her own money in a "Pay It Forward" program in which her class was involved.

Gutierrez chose to donate her money to the community drive to purchase toys for those in need. These toys were distributed in the Riverbank Cares Program that saw several hundred children receive presents this past week.

Arianna's family donated an additional $5 to boost her $1 offering.

The Gutierrez donation was made at the Stanislaus Consolidated Fire Protection District office that held one of several collecting boxes for toys that also stood at city hall, the police station and the local Catholic Church.

Fire district staff informed food and toy program coordinator Donna Bridges who passed it on to let the community know that every little bit helps ... and even children enjoy getting into the giving spirit.

Pay It Forward, by the way, is the title of a movie (and book) that focuses on an 11-year-old boy who does a favor and asks the recipient instead of paying him back to "pay it forward" by doing a favor for somebody else, thus start a spreading chain of goodwill between former strangers.