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by Ginger Winings

With wildfires raging across Washington state, 12-year-old Anna Marko knew she wanted to do something to help. Her thoughts turned to fundraising by starting a lemonade stand. She contacted the local supermarket, Rosauers, who gave permission for her to set up at their location with her sister Greta and brother Jonah. With donation buckets, signs, balloons—and lots of fresh lemonade–they opened for business. Immediately, clients came in. Yet the price of lemonade—and the donations that they raised–suddenly doubled when one customer arrived and announced he would match the final tally.

Suddenly, to everyone’s surprise, the amount collected and doubled reached $664.30. When Anna arrived at the Red Cross office with the money she’d raised, she asked a question: How would this help people in the wildfire disaster?

With 17 shelters opened or supported in less than two weeks, Red Cross is providing wildfire evacuees across the region meals and snacks and access to health and emotional support. Case workers are helping people find the resources. Volunteers are delivering hot meals via mobile feeding units to devastated areas. Speaking with local volunteers, Anne’s grandmother, Janice Ritzen, also learned that the organization receives no government funds and $.91 of every dollar spent goes toward humanitarian programs.

It is with the generosity of the American public and the enthusiasm of young community members like Anna and her siblings Greta, and Jonah that the Red Cross help people who are impacted by the wildfire disaster.

For the Red Cross disaster staff, young supporters have sweetened the long days and extra hours with deliveries of homemade cookies and cupcakes. Brooklyn Baird, 7 years old, proudly handed them out in the office break room as staff took a lunch break.

We consider ourselves lucky and are inspired by the many younger friend with huge hearts who have found a way to help!

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