When 12-year-old Chase Lloyd heard about a local family of six losing their rental house in a devastating fire, she had just earned more than $150 in her elementary school’s young entrepreneur program.
And while her mother Raina heard about the fire and found it hard to imagine the loss of everything – clothes, furniture, appliances, everything – Chase thought of something else lost.
Think of the stuffies.
Along with their parents Christine Denney and Barry Sailor, the four kids aged 10 to 14 lost everything in the overnight fire on Coote Street on April 5.
“They don’t even have stuffed animals,” Chase said of her thoughts after hearing about the fire.
So the Grade 6 student started with a small idea that quickly snowballed. She told her mother she wanted to donate $20 of her money earned on young entrepreneur day to the family. That $20 was quickly matched by her grandmother and her aunt and then her mother.
Then she phoned an uncle who jumped on board, and then a strange thing happened. Word spread of the 12-year-old’s campaign and people started calling her over and over and over, matching her $20 for the most part, and then others donating $100. Her principal at Strathcona elementary even pitched in.
She opened a bank account and named it Chase’s Dream Charity. She continued to answer the phone and accept e-transfer donations for the charity to the point when she had more than $1,000.
“It just blows your mind,” mom Raina said of Chase’s effort. “I’m so proud of her. She’s got such a big, big heart, it really does humble you that they can take that little small idea and turn it into something big and make such a difference.”
After raising the money, Chase knew what she wanted to do on her 12th birthday on April 11. Bring the big wad of cash over to the family, so that’s what they did. She also brought a hand-written note to the family.
Christina and Barry greeted Chase at their new house as she shyly explained about her $20 donation and the matching from relatives that went on and on. Then she handed over the envelope of cash in the driveway of the new house someone found for them, and Christina broke down in tears.
“My children didn’t even come out with shoes,” Denney said after the fire of just how much was lost.
It was hugs all around as the family was shocked by the gift. And while the $1,000 was for the family to use as needed, Chase then specifically handed the parents four $20 bills, one for each of the kids.
That money is for stuffed animals.
How did it make her feel to raise the money for the family?
“I did something good, I helped,” Chase said later. “Helping others is good.”
Chase’s mother Raina couldn’t be more proud, particularly because mom didn’t help out, it was the young student’s idea and she did it all by herself, including answering the phone for donations and dealing with e-transfers.
“It teaches us all that no matter how old you are and no matter how young you are, you can make a difference,” Raina said.
“That’s just the coolest lesson for her.”