When students decided to launch Toys From Titans as a way to honor the memory of two classmates killed in a crash last weekend by donating to Toys For Tots they thought they would fill an office with donations. They were wrong. They filled the University High School gym with toys.
Sophomores McKenzie Mott and Josie Freier were passengers in a car whose driver lost control and hit a tree. Both died in the crash.
It has been a tough week for U High students and the greater Spokane community; each day of school this week the reality of what happened sets in just a little more.
"It still doesn't feel real to me. It's not going to until I play soccer," Sarah Lampert, who played soccer with Mott, said.
But on Friday there were smiling faces in a crowd of people who are very much still mourning, dedicating their homecoming ceremony to a cause very special to Freier.
"Josie's favorite charity was Toys For Tots so we did our own spin on it -- Toys For Titans -- and we just kind of formulated a fill the gym type of thing," Conor Linehan said.
"I am really excited to see our entire gym floor filled because that's what they would have wanted," Lampert said.
"I tell you what this is huge, my friend told me 'Oh we're going to put the toys in the office' like, that's what we were expecting to put the toys in our recruiting office and look at that. It's, whoa, we need a warehouse," Marine Sergeant Isaac Rodriguez-Perez said.
Toys by the thousands, came pouring in. And not just from U High kids. Gonzaga Prep, Rogers, many Spokane high schools pitched in as a show of solidarity with U High students.
"It was absolutely incredible to see some other schools show their support as well as family friends of Josie and the whole community in general showing their support," Linehan said.
The Marines sent to collect the soon-to-be Christmas gifts were overwhelmed
"These toys are special toys. Every year the Marine Corps does Toys For Tots; however, these toys are special and this year when the kids get the toys its going to be more than just the toys, there's going to be meaning," Rodriguez-Perez said.
The meaning, not just to kids that will have a brighter Christmas morning, but to the families and friends of Josie and McKenzie, that their pain after an unthinkable tragedy somewhat eased, at least for a moment, by unthinkable kindness.
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