DVD collection

Maddy Colburn, an elementary student at Allegany-Limestone Elementary School, sits atop a box filled with 310 DVDs donated locally for pediatric hospitals around the country. Behind Maddy are (from left) her mother, Kristin Colburn; Annette Donavon, mamanger of the St. Bonaventure University Book Store; and Maddy's brother, Zach, who helped with the project.

ALLEGANY — Maddy Colburn remembers carrying paper bags so loaded down with donated DVDs that the sacks exploded all over the sidewalk after she got off her school bus.

Fortunately for Maddy, a neighbor saw the near catastrophe and ran out to help her put the DVDs in new sacks to carry home. Also fortunate for Maddy is the fact so many school children and adults donated DVDs to send to pediatric hospitals around the country that organizers of the national drive congratulated the 9-year-old in a special letter.

Maddy, a fourth-grader at Allegany-Limestone Elementary School, and her mother, Kristin, decided to conduct the DVD collection after they learned of similar drives throughout the country sponsored by the Kids Flicks organization. The organization was founded in California by sisters Lexi, Romi, Marni and Berni Barta. They established the program in the spring of 2002 after a young friend was hospitalized with leukemia. The child had watched movies to help her pass time and distract her while she was in the hospital. When the sisters learned DVDs were the first thing children asked for in hospitals, they decided to collect as many as possible to donate to medical centers around the country. 

Mrs. Colburn also had seen children confined to beds with little to do while hospitalized at Women and Children’s Hospital of Buffalo, and believed the Kids Flick organization was a worthwhile cause. As of March 4, the organization has sent 72,400 DVDs to 722 hospitals across the nation.

The mother and daughter set out their donation boxes after the holidays at the Colburns’ restaurant, Linger Longer Café in Allegany, as well as at Allegany-Limestone Elementary. 

“We had a goal of collecting 100 DVDs and we got 310,” Mrs. Colburn said. “Maddy would collect them every day after school and she would bring them home.” 

On one particular day the donation box at the school was very full, requiring Maddy to haul the DVDs in a couple of paper sacks. The task was a bit cumbersome for the child but she managed to get on and off her school bus before the bags gave out and then dropped the DVDs in the snow and mud. 

“The neighbor came out and gave her new bags to carry them home,” Mrs. Colburn said. 

They had a couple other bits of good luck when the Leaders Encouraging Action Through Democracy (L.E.A.D) group at the elementary school agreed to sponsor the collection on campus and later packaged the DVDs. In addition, St. Bonaventure Book Store offered to mail the heavy box to Kids Flicks in Los Angeles. Annette Donavon, manager of the book store, said the university does several donations to area organizations and was happy to ship the 62-pound box.

“It’s for a great cause,” Ms. Donavon said.

Mrs. Colburn said she has requested the company send some DVDs to Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo. 

“Hopefully, they can send some there,” she said.

Mrs. Colburn said the letter Kids Flicks sent to her and Maddy made their efforts even more worthwhile. In the letter, the Barta sisters wrote: “Dear Maddy and Kristin! 310! That is amazing!” The women also thanked the university for its generosity in covering the shipping cost. 

“We are so appreciative of Maddy’s efforts,” the Barta sisters added. “So many hospitalized children will benefit.”

More information on the Kids Flicks organization can be found at www.kidsflicks.org

(Contact reporter Kate Day Sager at kates_th@yahoo.com

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