Young Red Cross supporters raise money for disaster relief

After seeing how Hurricane Dorian devastated the Bahamas, Matt and Heather Pleus of Geneva, Illinois, decided to make a donation to the American Red Cross.  Their children, Sam (8) and A.J. (6) overheard the conversation and were inspired to offer their support as well.

“They ran upstairs and got their birthday money,” Heather said, “They wanted to help too.”

The family then discussed other ways the boys might help.  The conversation led to a homegrown campaign to raise more money for the relief fund.

“I am fortunate to work for a company that matches gifts like these,” said Matt, “I told Sam and A.J. how they could double the support.”  Matt is a logistics manager for BP in Chicago.  The employee matching program through BP is a dollar-for-dollar match.

Sam and A.J.’s goal: $2,019 – a symbolic reference to the year the storm battered the Bahamas.

“The boys set out asking everyone they knew for a donation,” Matt continued, “They were relentless.  It was amazing to see.”

“We took time to teach them about the American Red Cross,” said Heather, “We taught them about the Red Cross Mission, Clara Barton, and all of the good work volunteers do in a time of need like the one we saw in the Caribbean.”

On October 28, Sam, A.J., accompanied by their parents, presented a $2,019 donation to Jim Roolf, Board Chair of the Illinois River Valley Chapter, and Brian McDaniel, Executive Director.  The donation included artwork the boys created for the occasion, and a history lesson of the Red Cross by Sam.

“These are the things that inspire me to volunteer for the Red Cross,” said Roolf, “The dedication of these young men to help people they didn’t know is at the heart of our mission.  This is what it means to be a Red Crosser.”

Written by Executive Director of the American Red Cross of the Illinois River Valley Brian McDaniel

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