Kids raise $1,600 for Red Cross | AspenTimes.com

Kids raise $1,600 for Red Cross

Catherine Lutz

Phoebe and Lila Patinkin, Alejandro and Isabel Graves, Elisa Bianchi, Viola Gortan and Nakiri Gallagher-Cave got donations in exchange for lemonade and cookies on the mall near Wagner Park over Labor Day weekend to raise money for the victims of Hurricane Katrina. (Courtesy Risoun Gallagher)

Even some of the youngest locals were touched by the devastation Hurricane Katrina wrought on the Gulf Coast, and they decided to do something about it.A small group of kids, ages 5 to 7, spent much of the Labor Day weekend baking cookies and making lemonade, then giving them out on the mall near the Wagner Park playground in exchange for donations for hurricane victims. After a total of about seven hours on the mall, the children raised close to $900 over the three-day weekend, with Alpine Bank agreeing to match the donations dollar for dollar. In total, nearly $1,600 went to the American Red Cross because of the efforts of the kids.

“These kids, they really understood what had happened” and that people needed help, said Risoun Gallagher of Aspen, who started the project with her daughter Nakiri.Gallagher was watching the news and was struck at the immensity of the devastation.

“I thought this would be a good way to teach my child how to be part of a community and help people,” she said.Gallagher told a couple of friends about the idea, and they promptly volunteered to help. She estimated that the kids and parents baked about 200 cookies each day. The response, she said, was surprising and touching.

“It was our whole weekend,” she said. “We met a lot of people from New Orleans who had planned trips before this all happened, saying they had no home to go to, they couldn’t get a hold of family members. And everyone who donated felt really strongly about it. A lot of kids donated, giving 25 cents or 50 cents, or whatever was in their pockets, without taking cookies or lemonade.”Gallagher’s group is considering mounting another local fund-raising effort, but there are no specific plans at this time.