An effort by two eight-year-old girls to buy a jersey to take part in Thursday’s worldwide tributes to the Humboldt Broncos crash victims is growing into a big fundraiser.

The two, Felicity Pinay and Fallyn Arcand-Moyah, originally started out aiming to raise about $30 for Fallyn to buy her own jersey to wear at their school, kihiw waciston School on the Muskeg Lake Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. After reaching their goal, however, the pair decided donating whatever they raise would be a better move.

“They decided together that the families of the Broncos needed the money more,” Felicity’s grandma, Kimberly Greyeyes-Pinay, told CTV Saskatoon.

“To see little girls so happy that they can do something for somebody else, that’s what touches your heart.”

The girls, through a bake sale, a hot dog sale and relentless efforts reaching out to members of the community and family across the province, had raised more than $1,500 as of Thursday afternoon. Muskeg Lake’s chief and council even helped out, according to Greyeyes-Pinay.

“It’s brought together a lot of people,” the grandma said.

Kim Read, a teacher at the school, has been helping the girls with their efforts, but she gives the pair full credit.

“I’m just supporting them. They came up with this all on their own,” said Read, who’s been using her personal email to help people send in donations from across Saskatchewan.

“They’ve been getting donations left and right.”

The teacher is hoping to set something up that will allow the girls to present the money directly to the team or the families of the Broncos players.

“I don’t think they fully understand yet what they’re doing, but they know they’re doing something good,” Read said. “We want to show them exactly what they’ve done.”

Twenty-nine people were on the Broncos team bus, which was travelling to Nipawin for a playoff game against the Hawks on Friday evening, when the bus was hit by a semi on Highway 35 near Tisdale.

Sixteen of the 29 have since died.

Greyeyes-Pinay said the crash hit home for her. Her nephew previously played with some of the Broncos players, and many members of her family, including her kids, have played or play hockey, she said.

Still, she’s finding positives in the efforts of the girls, as well as in the response from people across the province.

“Everybody is grasping for something good, and we’ve watched an entire province… come together,” the grandma said.

She’s proud of the girls.

“Oh my gosh, I sure am,” Greyeyes-Pinay said. “They both have very big hearts.”

The best friends, who Read said have the exact same birthday, were able to wear their fathers’ jerseys to school Thursday to take part in the Broncos tributes — which have seen people worldwide share photos of themselves wearing jerseys in support of those affected by the crash.

Both girls are fans of the Edmonton Oilers, but only Felicity was able to wear a jersey of the Alberta team. Fallyn wore her dad’s Buffalo Sabres sweater, but, according to Read, her father is promising to buy the girl her own Oilers jersey because of her fundraising efforts.

The girls are no longer in Read’s class this year, but she taught the pair the previous two years. She joked she’s the reason they cheer for Edmonton.

“I had them for two years and I got them in there,” Read said.