In California, 12-year-old Maddy watched as Hurricane Harvey unleashed its toll on Houston, Texas. She was surprised how much damage a storm could cause and paralyze an entire city. Soon afterwards, she was browsing through Highlights, a youth magazine, and came across a section focused on children fundraising to give back to their communities.
I can do that, thought Maddy.
“Every day, people can help to make a big difference,” says Maddy, “whether it’s a simple smile to uplift someone’s spirits or giving a small amount to a charity.”
While Maddy was watching news highlights on the storm from the safety of her home, families in Houston were struggling to survive one of the worst natural disasters to ever hit Texas. One such family, is that of brother Eric’s. His family is still recovering from the physical and emotional impact of the hurricane. Their neighborhood is still a “hot mess”, as Eric puts it.
“Much more work must be done in order to bring the communities of Houston back to their original state and beyond,” said Eric.
Meanwhile, Maddy channeled her inspiration to direct action. She started baking dog treats from scratch and sold them to friends and family. She ended up raising more than $310 and decided to donate it entirely to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Her mother, Debbie, couldn’t be prouder. “Life is short and it is important to enjoy each moment,” she says. “And to give what you can, be that a smile, a helping hand, a word of kindness, or something more, and as parents, we have to lead by example.”
Zakat Foundation of America (ZF) was overseeing relief efforts in Houston when they received news that a young girl from California wanted to make a donation. ZF’s staff was very moved by Maddy’s generosity and reached out to Eric, who was involved in the cleanup process with ZF volunteers in Houston.
“It is difficult to find many youth who have the ambition and drive to support a cause monetarily,” said Eric. “As a young girl, I admire her passion and will to give to a movement bigger than herself. It is extremely inspiring to see other children going to work and helping others who really need it!”
Maddy’s donation directly helped Brother Eric’s family, as well as supporting a local mosque in Houston.
“Give praise to God for such a beautiful spirit,” added Eric. “Thank you, and may God reward you and your family with good. I would also express to her continue in this line of thinking, a willingness to give and carry those thoughts of service into action.”