When 11-year-old Cade Johnson saw the devastation being visited on Texas by Hurricane Harvey, he knew he had to do something.
“We’re lucky in the Northwest to not have big storms like this,” he said. “But these people are losing their homes, their belongings and some even their lives. I couldn’t just stand by and not do anything.”
So Cade started clicking around on the internet looking for ways he could help.
“The first thing I saw was a link to help pets displaced by Harvey,” he said. “I thought about offering to foster a dog, but I talked with my mom and since we already have a dog, it could be problem.”
A few clicks more and Cade ended up at the American Red Cross site for Harvey Relief.
“They were in dire need of money and supplies for everyone living in shelters, so I started trying to think of ways to help with this,” he continued. “I asked my mom, and she suggested that I could do yard work and other chores for our neighbors and use the money to help Harvey victims. Then she and my dad offered to match everything I earned up to $200, and I knew I’d found my answer.”
Next step was making up a flyer to promote his services, and no sooner had it hit the streets than the calls began to come in.
A student at Edmonds Heights K-12, Cade’s classes start a week later than the rest of the Edmonds School District, which gives him more time to earn money. His prices may be moderate, but his enthusiasm is big. “So far I’ve earned $75, and with my parents’ match that makes it $150,” he beamed. “And I’ve got three more jobs scheduled.”
Cade’s parents couldn’t be more proud.
“Helping others is a family value for us,” said mom Laura Johnson. “We’re so fortunate to live where we do and have what we have. Sharing with those less fortunate is simply the right thing to do.”
Cade got a solid lesson in helping others last summer on a family road trip vacation that took them right through the Standing Rock pipeline protests, where the thousands gathered for the event created a critical need for food and other supplies.
“Mom and Dad said, ‘Hey, since we’re passing through anyway, lets see what we can do to help.”
Together they hatched the idea to fill their car with everything from blankets to drinking water to non-perishable food items and bring them to Standing Rock. Laura placed a quick post on Facebook, and within hours had collected an incredible $500 from her followers.
“People were so grateful when we arrived at Standing Rock,” said Cade. “I made a bunch of new friends there. They even asked me to stay and go to school with them!”
Standing Rock not only became the high point of their vacation, but it lit a fire in Cade to be there for people in need. And when Harvey hit, he just couldn’t sit on the sidelines.
“When I’m out there doing chores, the work may be hard but it’s really little compared to what people are suffering through down there,” he said. “And when I look at the news and see the scenes in the shelters with all the bags of donated food and supplies, I feel so good knowing that I’m helping put them there.”
With hurricane Irma now slamming into Florida and Jose right behind, the need for food and supplies is growing by the hour. Cade invites anyone interested in helping, to visit his new project Facebook page, Yard Work for Hurricane Help.
— By Larry Vogel