Canada Kicks Ass

Children start own fund for farmers
Date: Sunday, September 15 2002
Topic: International News

Group of seven raises $1,000 so far: DROUGHT RELIEF

Armed only with smiles, seven charming children hit the streets at the St. Albert farmers market Saturday to help -- well, farmers.

The merry band has already raised about $1,000 for drought relief after spending two Saturdays at the market.

"How would you like to donate some money to help the farmers -- then you get a sticker," nine-year-old Natasha Lefebvre asked a passing shopper.

The shopper smiled and dug deep for a handful of change, including dollar coins.

The idea for the fundraiser originated with Natasha's older sister, Alyssa, after a family dinner discussion convinced the 12-year-old that drought is a concern for everyone.

Alyssa and her other sister, Brittni, came up with the idea for a fundraising booth at the market, with signs asking shoppers to help farmers and a big glass bottle to hold the cash.

Then the sisters got on the phone, made all the arrangements and recruited their best friends, Jaylene Vachon, 12, and Sarah Jeffers, 13.

Sarah, who immigrated from England a year ago, reacted with enthusiasm. "Since this country has given us so much I wanted to give something back," she said.

The four girls raised $500.12 last Saturday and hoped to top that amount yesterday, with help from Natasha and two other new recruits.

"Most people stop and say it is a good idea," Alyssa said. "Most people give money."

Jeannette Dey's $30 donation is the biggest so far. She praised the children for their efforts to help farmers, including Dey's father-in-law, who farms near St. Michael and had to sell part of his cattle herd this year.

"I am so impressed by these kids," she said. "I can't believe they thought this up by themselves."

Sarah's younger brother, Michael, 11, joined the fundraising group Saturday and in less than two hours raised $124.

He counted.

Six-year-old Josh Lefebvre didn't count but said he kept up with the older children, including his three sisters. "I got lots," said the smallest of the group of seven.

Alyssa said the group is getting free rent for four Saturdays by linking its fundraising project to a hay drive by the St. Albert Kinette Club, which has charitable status.

She said the Dairy Queen and Staples helped out with paper and printing.

© Copyright 2002 Edmonton J

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