For five-year-old Rianna Kaur Brar, the Langley United Youth Soccer Association’s food and toy drive on Dec. 8 was like Christmas Eve.
And she was Santa.
Langley United’s annual charity event at Willoughby Community Park was a success, with club families and kids contributing a truck full of food and toys and $455 in cash donations for the Langley Christmas Bureau and Langley Food Bank, respectively.
But it was Rianna, already a philanthropist, who provided the highlight of the day.
A member of the LUYSA Roses U6 team, Rianna donated gifts she received for her birthday in August. All of the items will go to the Langley Christmas Bureau.
“I wanted to care for the other children so they could have toys, too,” Rianna explained
The idea started when Rianna was turning five. She had asked her dad Bobby if she could raise money for the less fortunate.
“My husband and I felt that maybe she wouldn’t understand the impact of what she was doing because to her, she may not understand the impact of money and she was so young,” Rianna’s mom Mandeep related.
Instead, Rianna’s parents asked her if she would rather donate any toys that she gets for her birthday.
“She was super excited to give the toys instead of money,” Mandeep said. “We wanted her to know the impact of what she was doing for another child in the world.”
Originally, the family had hoped to drop the toys off at BC Children’s Hospital but due to the distance and their busy schedules, they were unable to make the trip.
So Rianna’s donations including a scooter, Barbie corvette, books, Hot Wheels car set, clothes, shoes, and a board game sat untouched in the family computer room for nearly five months.
When she heard her local soccer association was holding a toy drive, Rianna jumped at the opportunity to donate her presents.
“We were more than happy to have her associate this experience with her soccer league,” Mandeep wrote in an email to Langley United. “We were a bit nervous of what her reaction would be after all the toys were gone. We are happy to say that she has not stopped talking about how happy she thinks the children will be when they get all these new toys. Her excitement has been so overwhelming for our family. We are so proud of her and her desire to want to help others.”
Rianna’s generosity reaped rewards. Langley United gave her four tickets to a future Vancouver Whitecaps MLS game.