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Birthday Celebrant Helps Poor Children

December 06, 2000|STEPHANIE STASSEL

About 250 needy children will benefit from the generosity of a girl who gave up presents at her birthday party, instead asking each guest to bring a toy for a less fortunate child.

Each year, Chelsea Duff's family performs an act of kindness during the holidays and this year was no exception. So when her 8th birthday was nearing in September, her mother gave her two choices: Have a small party at home or do something really big to help others.

"I wanted to do it because it's around Christmas and Hanukkah time and it's nice for people to have presents," Chelsea said.

So she invited the entire second-grade class at Sierra Canyon School in Chatsworth, along with neighborhood kids, to a private roller-skating party at Skateland in Northridge. A throng of 53 kids came, each with an unwrapped gift and a few toting a large bag of presents.

About 250 presents were collected at the party Monday. They were picked up at the roller rink by firefighters and "Sparky," a human-sized "fire dog" who walks on two legs.

Mindy Duff, Chelsea's mother, was thrilled by the response.

"It was successful, but if only one friend gets the idea and does it and one of their friends gets the idea, it will be really successful," she said.

The fact that her daughter would come up with such a party doesn't surprise her mother, who has tried to instill a sense of charity in Chelsea and her 12-year-old brother, Chas.

"She's a very patient kid and a very giving kid," Duff said.

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