10- and 11-year-old prove kids can help during the pandemic.
When eleven-year-old Cartier Carey of Hampton, Virginia, decided to set up a lemonade stand, he had a larger-than-life vision for how the proceeds could be used. He spent the entire summer manning his stand, collecting funds to buy diapers, wipes and other essentials for single parents who needed help during the COVID-19 pandemic. Many had lost their jobs and care amid social distancing mandates and were struggling to make ends meet. Cartier said he noticed a shortage of diapers on the shelves, too, and that’s what prompted him to accept donations.
“There was no diapers at all and I was like, ‘Oh, people are having babies so I should help [them] afford diapers,’” said Cartier, who made about $4,500 in the first month he opened up shop. He also collected donations. Now back in school virtually, he’s busy loading a truck with more than 22,000 donated diapers.
“You are helping so many people. You have no idea. You see this truck? I didn’t always have this truck. I lived in a church home. And coming from where I came from and now here, it’s because of people like you. People gave me diapers, you know? You’re an amazing young man and you can go far,” said the mother making the haul to single parents in the area, moved to tears by the youngster’s effort.
Her words served as motivation to keep Cartier going. He said, “It was heart-touching. I [almost] cried myself when she gave me a hug and started crying. After that, that made me just want to keep doing it.”
Although he can no longer spend his days selling lemonade with schoolwork piling up, the boy said he plans to continue helping the community, and Cartier and his mother have started a non-profit called “Kids 4 Change” to get others involved.
“Others can make a difference just like I’m doing right now,” he said. “They can save lives and be heroes. They’re never too young.”
In May, Mateo Solis was excited to celebrate his tenth birthday, but he also felt he wanted to do something to help those struggling amid COVID-19. Discussing this with this grandmother, Jacinta Fernandes, an emergency hospitality staff member at NYU Winthrop Hospital in Mineola, the two came up with a plan to create a birthday fundraiser in order to collect donations for a family in need.
“It was really depressing and sad,” Carla Fernandes, Mateo’s mother, said, of hearing about those afflicted by the virus – particularly children. “And [Mateo] was saying, ‘I’m lucky enough now to be turning 10. Some children are not as lucky.’ “
The day before the boy’s celebration on May 3, Carla and Mateo distributed 150 flyers in their neighborhood with information regarding a plan to donate funds to a family struggling. “The whole world was struggling,” Mateo said. “Thousands of people were dying everywhere. I wanted to make a little change that could just help.”
He called his fundraiser “Help Me Help One,” and by end of the day, the boy had raised $1,109.14 in donations. “I felt really happy and very proud of myself,” Mateo said. He passed the money along to a family with a three-year-old who had spent nine days battling the virus.
Mateo added, “I always try to stay kind and I always try to help other people. I just want everyone to try to feel better during this tough time, and hopefully this can all go away.”