An online campaign to raise funds for the family of a two-year-old Pitt Meadows boy who was killed after being hit by a car on Friday has already far outpaced expectations.
Riddick Servio died of his injuries in hospital after he was struck in a crosswalk by a turning car while walking with his mother hand-in-hand at Meadowtown Centre. They were on their way to a Tim Horton's to get Riddick a drink.
His mother was also injured, and is currently recovering at home. She will require surgery on a broken leg, according to a statement from the Servio family issued on Monday.
Laura Gondos — whose daughter went to daycare with Riddick — started the online campaign with the intention of raising money to help the family through this difficult time.
"We were hoping for $500 for a few meals for the family and it just kind of exploded from there," Gondos says.
The campaign has now raised more than $6,000 since it began on Friday.
"I'm so shocked and in total awe of how willing people have been to step up and help someone in need — especially during such a tough time of year some people, being very expensive. But everyone's just doing what they can," she says.
A memorial of flowers, toys, balloons and cards from the public at the site of the accident is growing daily, and the Servio family is expected to attend a candle light vigil for Riddick in Maple Ridge Tuesday evening.
In the statement sent out by the family, Riddick's grandfather says that the tragic accident has "ripped our lives apart, our and many others, including the poor unfortunate woman behind the wheel of the van. None of us will ever be the same."
He goes on to say that Riddick's mother wants "to let everyone who stopped, that she saw that helped" know that she remembers them and will never forget them.
"They are just so shocked and grateful for everyone's support and I think they're just so surprised," says Gondos.
Police say the accident may have been caused by a moment of inattention, moments that seem to become more frequent during the busy holiday season.
Kali McRoberts, a mother of two children, says she understands how dangerous this time of year can be on the roads and in busy parking lots.
"Not just at this mall, at other malls too – people are in a rush and they're not really watching for pedestrians. Definitely something I try to keep an eye out for," she told CBC News.
Police say they have not ruled out the possibility of charges in Riddick's death.
The candle light vigil is scheduled to begin Tuesday at 6:30 p.m. PT at Memorial Peace Park.
The family have requested toy donations in lieu of flowers. Toys will be donated to the Christmas Hamper Society for local families in need.
Below is the full statement distributed by the Servio family today