Second-grader takes spirit of season to heart

INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER
Evelia Echandy, a second grade student at Glencliff Elementary, has been saving up since summer to buy presents for Toys for Tots. 
She was able to buy 18 toys to drop off at the Glencliff location. 
Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.INDIANA NASH/GAZETTE REPORTER Evelia Echandy, a second grade student at Glencliff Elementary, has been saving up since summer to buy presents for Toys for Tots. She was able to buy 18 toys to drop off at the Glencliff location. Thursday, Dec. 15, 2016.

BY INDIANA NASH

Gazette Reporter

NISKAYUNA- Kids across the nation may consider themselves toy experts. But Evelia Echandy, a second grade student at Glencliff Elementary, is an expert in both toys and in giving.

For the past few summers, Evelia has ran a lemonade stand and a bake sale during her family’s annual garage sale.

“She would walk around and ask people if they wanted lemonade and she’d explain that she was raising money for Toys for Tots,” said Evelia’s mother, Kara.

When Kara first told Evelia a few years ago about Toys for Tots, Evelia took the idea that other children might not have any presents to open during Hanukkah or Christmas to heart.

She bought one toy to donate to Toys for Tots. The next year, she asked that her Hanukkah money could go to Toys for Tots.

In 2015, she had the idea to start running a lemonade stand during the summer and she was able to donate several toys with the money.

But this past summer, she grew very serious about donations and wanted to do more.

She ran the bake sale and lemonade stand, but she also asked neighbors for donations or for gently used toys that she could sell and use the money to buy new toys.

In total, she was able to buy 18 new toys to donate to Glencliff’s Toys for Tots box.

“I just thought it was a nice thing to do. . . . I didn’t think I would be very happy if I didn’t get any toys so other kids wouldn’t be happy either,” Evelia said.

The holiday season is her favorite time of the year because of the focus on giving presents.

“My favorite part is wrapping them all,” Evelia said.

But for the young gift expert, the generosity seen around the holidays spreads throughout the year.

“She is always going around the house and asking if she can wrap things up and give them to kids around the neighborhood,” Kara said.

One of her favorite people to give to is Lola, her younger sister.

“Sometimes I like to go into the basement and find toys that I don’t play with anymore and I’ll wrap them up and give them to her,” Evelia said.

When she isn’t wrapping presents or planning next summer’s fundraiser, Evelia is doing Karate, gymnastics, baking, or going to the movies with her dad.