Two students from Seymour-Redding Elementary School are celebrating their birthdays together next weekend, but instead of getting gifts this year, they want to give something to others.
Daelyn Freese just had her sixth birthday, and her sister, Lariah Neal, is going to be turning 11 soon. The kindergartner and fifth-grader were each going to be receiving a Hatchimal toy for their birthdays, but now, they plan to raffle them off.
“The girls saw the fires in Tennessee on the TV and wanted to help,” said Kim Steltenpohl, the girls’ grandmother. “They were afraid some of the kids there wouldn’t have anything for Christmas.”
Steltenpohl said her family frequently vacations in Pigeon Forge and around Gatlinburg, and it was heartbreaking to see the devastation there, and the girls wanted to help.
“We were just granted permission from Orscheln to set up a stand in front of their store this coming Saturday,” Steltenpohl said. “We will be selling raffle tickets for the two Hatchimals and will have two drawings.”
Hatchimals are the latest trend and have been a huge hit this holiday season. Starting out as an egg, a Hatchimal requires tender loving care before it can grow and be able to hatch out of its own egg and into the real world.
A representative from Walmart Supercenter in Seymour said the store received nine of the toys for the Black Friday sale but have since sold out and unsure when they will be getting any more in stock.
Steltenpohl said they also will accept donations of toys, gloves, scarves and toboggans Saturday.
“We are going to contact the Pigeon Forge Chamber of Commerce to find out the best way to get the donations sent down there,” Steltenpohl said. “We are going to buy some winter clothing to send, too.”
The Hatchimal raffle to benefit Pigeon Forge will be from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Orscheln Farm and Home, 1501 E. Tipton St., Seymour. Tickets will be $1 each or six for $5.
Daelyn and Lariah are the children of Latrisha and Dana Freese of Seymour.