Tenants Harbor 2nd grader leading fundraiser for Australia bushfire victims

Published: Jan. 9, 2020 at 4:21 PM EST
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Fires have been blazing across Australia for months now killing at least 26 people and destroying homes.

Thousands of animals have also been injured or killed.

The devastation there has caught the attention of an 8-year-old at a school in Tenants Harbor.

He and his classmates are now doing what they can to help the fire victims.

"We should help them because they don’t have as much stuff as we do and the houses keep burning down," said Liam Ward.

That's what 8-year-old Liam told his teacher earlier this week.

Liam, a second grader at St. George School in Tenants Harbor, was watching the news earlier this week when he saw a story about the bushfires raging across Australia.

"He caught a glimpse of the fire, the koala bears, and animals, explained Summer Ward, Liam's mom. "He instantly got sad. He’s a very empathetic kid.”

That inspired Liam to bring the situation happening in Australia to the attention of his classmates.

They started brainstorming ways to help.

“Once someone said, 'I would be so scared if that were my house,' the empathy ball began to roll. Everyone immediately just started shouting what they could donate: bottles, toys, fossils, books, kind of all the things we have in here. Then we brainstormed and honed in on what might be the most beneficial, and we landed on money," explained Alison Babb-Brott, Liam's 2nd grade teacher at St. George MSU.

In class this week, students have also been working on posters in hopes of educating the rest of their peers while encouraging them to donate.

This is the donation station that Liam and his classmates have started. Anyone is able to donate. All you have to do it stop by the office and contribute to the cause.

“You know a dollar helps. So many people donate a dollar, and its adds up," said Ward.

A flyer was sent home to all families, and Liam’s mom, Summer, posted it on Facebook. That quickly got plenty of likes and shares, so she set up a Facebook fundraiser.

"It automatically set a goal of $200 and we had hit that within 15 minutes," said Ward.

So far, they’ve raised more than $1,400. We asked Liam what he would tell folks who have not heard of his mission.

“I would probably ask If one day they could stop by our classroom and maybe send In some money," Liam said.

His teacher says Liam has inspired her and so many others, and it all began with one simple idea. She says this proves that no idea is too small.

“No matter how small you are, no matter how far away you are, if you speak up, you can do something to help, and Liam is the perfect example of that," said Babb-Brott.

Liam and his classmates will be holding a bake sale on Monday at St. George MSU.

Everyone is invited to drop off a donation.

And a woman from Belfast living in Sydney, Australia right now is raising money, too.

Callie Cook's goal is to collect 5-thousand dollars for the charity called BlazeAid.

She's at nearly $2,000 now.

Posted by Summer Stuart Ward on Tuesday, January 7, 2020