Letter to the Editor: Dexter Elementary School Student Raises $800 for Humane Society of Huron Valley
Cornerstone Elementary student Claire Vander Haagen solicited donations at Busch's in Dexter on Saturday.
My seven-year old daughter Claire, "accidentally' caught the beginning of one of those terribly sad and depressing commercials about animal abuse that the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals airs on television.
I have never made it through one of the commercials myself and certainly never wanted my girls to see them. Once I realized the commercial was playing, I sprinted to the TV to turn it off, but it was too late, Claire was already crying hysterically about what she had seen.
"Why do they do that to them?" she asked through tear-filled eyes.
My response was the only thing it could be: honest. I told her some people think they can care for dogs but they can't, or that some people are just not nice. It was the cold hard truth. I told her the reason they make those commercials is because they (ASPCA) are asking people to give money to help pay to rescue and care for the animals. She was obviously struck by that information because she dashed up to her room and shook her piggy bank free of the $3.47 she had left, put it in a bag and told me she wanted to give it to the dogs.
Being her mom, I now was in tears just realizing how big her heart was.
I told her she could give even more money if she wanted to by doing a fundraiser. I told her, in most cases, you need to sell or offer something to your donors as a token of thanks or a way to encourage them to give. She decided she would paint or draw pictures for people who donated. I loved the idea and together we picked pictures she had already created over the years, had them reproduced into blank note cards and decided to give one to everyone who donated to the Humane Society of Huron Valley in Ann Arbor.
We talked to Brian, one of the managers at Busch's, who promptly agreed to let us set up our operation outside for several hours on a Saturday. He was incredibly helpful and accommodating, especially when the temperature dropped and the winds kicked up. He let us move inside.
The event was a huge success and, thanks to more than 100 generous donors from all over Dexter and as far away as Wyandotte, Livonia and Monroe, Claire was able to raise $810 on Saturday, with another $50 pledged! We are probably going to do another fundraiser in a few months.
Thank you so much for making it possible for us to help the humane society, and for making it such a wonderful experience for us. We are all very fortunate to live in such a caring and generous community.