By: Katie Baratone Zwerk
It could’ve been any ordinary silver bucket, but inside this bucket was a treasure. It held an outpouring of hope and bright-eyed optimism that only a child can give; the kind of gift that radiates beyond any material possession.
It all started as an idea from a group of 5th-grade Junior Beta Club members at Warren T. Jackson Elementary School. The students knew “everyone was struggling” after hearing about the devastation left behind by Hurricane Ian in Florida. Emily, a 5th-grader part of the Junior Beta Club, said they wanted to help.
This extraordinary group put their silver bucket to use and collected whatever change or dollar bills they could, standing outside the school, and asking parents in the drop-off line if they’d be willing to donate to those in need.
"We worked hard, and a lot of people wanted to help”, said Audrey, another Beta Club member. They counted and recounted each coin and dollar to make sure they had the correct amount: a grand total of $1,065.63. When asked why they wanted to give the money to the American Red Cross of Georgia, they said they researched different groups and found that the Red Cross was a reputable organization that helps others.
On the morning of November 16th, these philanthropic 5th graders presented their treasure, in the form of a check, to the Red Cross. The room was buzzing with anticipation as they gathered for the ceremony. Their teacher, Paul La Motte, emphasized how the kids came up with this idea entirely on their own. As the students were told their donations could help provide emergency shelter and food after a disaster, their eyes lit up with excitement. “We are proud that we helped as many as 21 people”, said Salwa, another 5th-grade student with the Beta Club.
This a true reminder that the generosity of donors can begin at any age.
About the American Red Cross:
The American Red Cross shelters, feeds, and provides comfort to victims of disasters; supplies about 40% of the nation's blood; teaches skills that save lives; distributes international humanitarian aid; and supports veterans, military members, and their families. The Red Cross is a nonprofit organization that depends on volunteers and the generosity of the American public to deliver its mission. For more information, please visit redcross.org or cruzrojaamericana.org, or visit us on Twitter at @RedCross.