Moved by Hurricane Matthew’s Impact, 8-Year-Old Raises Funds for Direct Relief


Despite her own Florida home being pounded with wind and rain from Hurricane Matthew, 8-year-old Madeline Fox decided to reach out to others affected by the storm and raise support for emergency response efforts in the U.S. and Caribbean.

Her fundraising page can be seen here.

It all started with uncharacteristic silence at the family’s dinner table earlier this week.  The family had been talking about Hurricane Matthew, which was then about to make landfall in Haiti.

“We talked about Haiti and Cuba and how their buildings weren’t as strong as some of ours here in the U.S. and there were probably people there that didn’t know the storm was coming,” Madeline’s mother, Erin, recalled.

Erin, a certified National Weather Service SKYWARN spotter, said weather conversations are commonplace in their home. When Madeline asked about what might happen in the wake of the hurricane, her parents were honest.

“We told her people may lose their homes, school belongings, access to food, medical aid and clean water, and unfortunately, some their lives,” Erin said.

The family talked about how people in their home state would also lose a lot and be without power for a long time.

“Madeline got very quiet, which is a rarity for her as she is a very charismatic child, and then told us how bad she felt for the people the hurricane was going to hit,” her mom said.

After dinner, Madeline went to her room. When she returned, she announced that she wanted to help fundraise for Hurricane Matthew victims.

The third grader had done other fundraisers for school, and she and her mother sat down to examine which organizations were helping those in need.

After some research, the pair chose Direct Relief as the organization to benefit, wanting to make sure as much funding as possible went to people in need.

After posting a fundraising page on the fundraising site, Mighty Cause (formerly Razoo), Madeline got her elementary school involved and even made a presentation on their morning news broadcast to spread the word.

For each dollar donated to Madeline’s page, Direct Relief will be able to send more than $30 worth of supplies and medicines to hurricane victims, leveraging partnerships with medical and pharmaceutical companies.

As they raise money, the family is also enduring the storm themselves. They live in Tampa and don’t have to evacuate, though they will get tropical storm force wind and rain.

“We are heartbroken over what is about to happen to our state,” Erin said Thursday.

They are taking in friends who live in the path of the storm, however, and have family and friends in Georgia and South Carolina that are also in the path of Hurricane Matthew.

In the meantime, Madeline is doing her part to help others.

“Her empathy for others is beyond amazing and she has a heart of pure gold,” Erin said.  “It does not surprise me that she wants to help others in need.”

To donate to Direct Relief’s hurricane efforts, click here.

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