Cuero 7-year-old girl raises money for Blue Santa
When Gabbie Roznosky turned 5, her mother, Angie, decided she was old enough to learn about charitable giving during Christmastime.
Gabbie, 7, a home-schooler in Cuero, celebrates her birthday Nov. 19.
And with Christmas following a month later, the mother-daughter pair decided there were other children and organizations that would be better served with the presents and financial donations.
So they decided to host a donation birthday party for Gabbie, where attendees were asked to donate to the birthday girl's favorite animal organization, the Dorothy O'Connor Pet Adoption Center.
The following year, guests assembled gifts that would be shipped overseas for Operation Christmas Child.
This year, Gabbie decided she wanted to raise money to buy gifts for the Cuero Blue Santa program, which distributed hundreds of toys to more than 300 needy children who might otherwise have not had gifts under the tree Christmas morning.
"I grew up in foster care ... and my husband didn't have a great childhood," said Angie, 33, hugging Gabbie as they sat on their living room couch together Sunday. "We wanted them to know there are people less fortunate than us out there, who need not only toys but blankets and clothes and other things."
Beginning in August, Angie and Gabbie contacted Cuero's Blue Santa program and let them know they were interested in collecting toys for the event.
Gabbie asked her friends to bring toys to her birthday party a few weeks ago.
And Angie and her husband, Kevin Roznovsky, organized a communitywide three-day garage sale, donating the proceeds to purchase gifts for Blue Santa.
The family put an ad on Facebook asking for surrounding communities to donate garage sale items to their sale to raise money for Blue Santa.
"It was much bigger than we were expecting," Angie said.
"Hundreds of people showed up to buy things," Kevin added.
"We bought hundreds of toys," Angie said. "I don't know how many, but it was $2,200 worth."
Gabbie and her parents visited toy stores Black Friday and delivered the toys to Blue Santa.
"It was good," the shy Gabbie said, mentioning how much she enjoyed delivering the gifts with the Blue Santa volunteers.
"We've helped with Blue Santa in the past, but this year, she got to be involved from beginning to end - raising money, picking out the toys, wrapping the gifts and delivering them to the kids," Angie said.
On Saturday, Angie, Kevin, Gabbie and her 4-year-old brother, Tyler, followed the Blue Santa volunteers around to area homes for about eight hours delivering gifts.
"It was fun," Gabbie said. "I saw some friends and they said 'Hi,'" she said.
Angie explained that some of the gift recipients were in Gabbie's elementary class. She is now home-schooled, she said.
"I really do want them to understand it's not just about them, but it's about loving other people," Angie said.
Kevin said he's proud of his girls and their willingness to help the community.
"I am so proud of them. I support what they do 100 percent," he said.
Angie said when Tyler turns 5 in February, he too, will begin his own annual donation birthday parties, and he will have the chance to select a charity of his choice to donate to or serve.
"She still receives birthday gifts and Christmas gifts each year ... but she loves doing this. She gets it," Angie said. "And we just thank everyone for all their support, especially Blue Santa. It was all just a really big team effort in the long run. And it makes the Christmas season brighter for everyone."