Ali Fadi Hasan Abu Atwan, 5, couldn't keep his hands off the bright orange lobster.
The kindergartner from Howe Avenue Elementary School, sporting an equally luminous shirt, lunged for the plastic toy this morning, minutes after the "big kids" set the goodies down in the classroom.
The seven "big kids" were from Kids Helping Kids, a nonprofit run by students at Del Campo High School in Fair Oaks. The group donated $1,600 worth of backpacks, toys and other school supplies to 116 kindergarten students at Howe Avenue.
"You have to be good students ... to play with the toys," Kids Helping Kids CEO Joey Cisneros, 17, told one classroom of children.
The toys couldn't come soon enough. After posing for a few pictures, the children, ages 4 to 5, scrambled for the gifts. Three TV camera crews simultaneously recorded the commotion. Teacher Alissa Lewallen tried to get the children away.
"Don't touch anything yet, just look," Lewallen said.
But even a teacher's words couldn't stop them. The kids crowded over boxes of backpacks, dolls and Legos, quickly scooping them up. Ali was soon running around with the orange lobster, snapping it at his peers.
Kids Helping Kids selected Howe Avenue School because of its need, Cisneros said. The school has the highest percentage of low-income families in the San Juan Unified School district, according to Principal Yvonne Wright.
The goal of Kids Helping Kids, the students say, is to make dreams possible through charitable grants and donations. The Sacramento chapter of the organization was started in December, after students at Del Campo High School wanted to help a fellow student who was homeless. The original Kids Helping Kids was founded 11 years ago in Santa Barbara.
The Sacramento group raised $26,000 during its music gala in February. It is planning a similar event next year.
"One of our goals is to teach civic responsibility," said Kirsten Thomas-Acke, vice principal at Howe Avenue. "It's really important to have youth as role models who are practicing that."
Call The Bee's Richard Chang, (916) 321-1018. Follow him on Twitter @RichardYChang.