Today’s news:

Carolers raise $400 for Bayside children’s hospital

Christmas for some came better late than never.

A quartet of musically inclined 13−year−olds took an impromptu show on the road early this month when they canvassed their neighborhood singing Christmas carols to raise hundreds of dollars for presents for sick children.

The four students — Anya Cullen, Lauren Velez, Patrick Kowpak and Katie McCreesh — from the St. Andrew Avellino school in Flushing raised more than $400 to buy presents for patients at St. Mary’s Hospital for Children.

“This entire project was coordinated by four 13−year−olds who were thinking about others and wanted to help in some way. It was not part of a school project. It was just a bunch of kids opening their hearts to St. Mary’s kids,” said Anya’s mother, Margaret Cullen.

Anya had been at the hospital in early December to sing with St. Avellino’s choir for patients at the medical facility when she said she was inspired to action.

“I always see commercials on TV about donating to children’s hospitals and I thought why not give back to kids right here in my own neighborhood?” Anya said.

The four students rehearsed for hours at Anya’s home before traveling door−to−door in Flushing singing carols and soliciting donations for children at the hospital. Frustrated by a less−than−stellar first try, the foursome even went out a second time following Christmas, determined to raise enough money to purchase gifts.

The second time turned out to be a charm and the students presented $400 worth of toys to patients of the Bayside hospital on Twelfth Night. The donation included $100 in gift cards donated by Katie, who said she wanted to share some of the gifts she received for Christmas.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 138.

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