Brother and sister start teddy bear drive

JAMUL, Calif. – At a time of the year when most children look forward to receiving presents, a brother and a sister from Jamul are giving them -- and in a big way.

Evynn and Casey started a GoFundMe account asking for $100 to buy stuffed animals to give firefighters, who would then give them to children going through distressful situations. As of Wednesday, they had raised nearly $700.

The brother and sister were inspired to help other children after a tragedy in their own lives.

“The reason is because we had the paramedics visit us two years ago to help my husband who was dying of cancer,” their mother Kylie Chalfa said.

Chalfa’s husband was unexpectedly diagnosed with stage four cancer and died in a matter of months.

“There is a lot of the chaos in the house when that is happening and one of the paramedics was kind enough to distract the kids with stickers and stuffed animals while all the drama was going on,” Chalfa said.

This year, she said she felt compelled to do something for other families that may be going through a similar situation -- and at the same time, teach her children a valuable lesson.

“Like what happened to us, they’re going to give those teddy bears to other kids,” Casey said.

Evynn and Casey will deliver the stuffed animals to local fire stations. The hope is that any child in an emergency will get comfort from a beloved stuffed animal.