Irishtown teen made Christmas brighter for others

Gary Kean gkean@thewesternstar.com
Published on December 28, 2012
For Christmas this year, Amber Murrin of Irishtown asked her family to give her toys she could donate to the Transition House.
Gary Kean

CORNER BROOK — After watching a television show about someone donating toys to kids, Amber Murrin knew exactly what she wanted for Christmas.

She told her parents and all of her relatives to give her toys that she could then donate to children who might go without this Christmas.

On Christmas Eve, the 14-year-old from Irishtown and her parents, Corrina and Shannon Murrin, loaded up the family pickup truck and delivered a bunch of toys to the Transition House in Corner Brook.

“I was thinking of giving them to the Janeway (Children’s Hospital in St. John’s) at first,” said the charitable teenager.

“Then, I thought about how difficult it would be to get the toys out there. So then I started looking in Corner Brook and found Transition House.”

Among the items donated were Barbie dolls, teddy bears, a stroller for children learning to walk and a Dairy Queen Blizzard maker.

Her mom said the entire family has been supportive of Amber’s gesture. She expected more toys from other relatives to arrive after the family’s big delivery on Christmas Eve, so more trips may be needed after Christmas.

“We’ll make sure it all gets there,” said Corrina.

Amber’s parents were quite proud of her when she told them what she wanted to do to make this a special Christmas for them and the families they have touched.

“We were really impressed that she would actually give up her gifts,” said her mom. “She was adamant about calling all her aunts and uncles and telling them she didn’t want and didn’t need anything for Christmas and wanted gifts that she could give away.”

Amber did get one present to open on Christmas Day, noted her mother: a luggage set for a trip to Montreal that Amber is planning to take in May.

Valerie Simms-Anderson, executive director of Transition House, said it is obvious Amber is a young person who is sensitive to what happens in the world around her. The Christmas period, she noted, is the time of year when the shelter for abused women and their children tends to see an increase in the number of women seeking out Transition House’s services.

That means a less than festive holiday season for some families.

“We want them to have Christmas gifts like everybody else does, so when people donate like Amber is doing, then it means we actually have Christmas gifts to give to the women and the children,” said Simms-Anderson.

The toys donated by Amber will be distributed to kids spending Christmas either at the shelter or at second-stage housing for women and children trying to distance themselves from unstable relationships.