A third-grader inspires his community to raise money for freshwater wells
Scott Sevey is a guidance counselor at Westminster Christian School in Illinois. His son, Nathan, recently raised money for a cause important to him.
“If not us, then who
If not me and you
Right now, it’s time for us to do something
If not now, then when
Will we see an end
To all this pain
It’s not enough to do nothing
It’s time for us to do something …” Matthew West, “Do Something”
My son, Nathan, is in third grade at Westminster Christian School. This Matthew West song played in chapel in March, and the next day, the conversation began while playing catch.
“Dad, I heard a song today in chapel, and I think I need to do something to help get clean water to kids around the world that don’t have clean water,” Nathan said.
“Why clean water?” I asked.
He began to tell stories he had heard about kids who needed clean water in Africa, a continent that became near to his heart when his aunt moved to Kenya to become a teacher. As he began to put all of these pieces together for me, it became clear that God had laid a vision on this third-grader’s heart. I began to wonder, “Could he really do this?”
We began brainstorming ideas; during that process, Nathan tossed around some ideas of selling his artwork and publishing a book or two. It was clear he had the heart for this project but needed people to help him put foot to this. In the end, he and I decided he would approach the Westminster Christian High School Business Club to ask for help and direction.
Nathan first approached the faculty advisor of the Business Club, who asked him to make a formal presentation to the entire club. After Nathan shared a PowerPoint, they were on board with helping. The group usually sells doughnuts once a week to help with student initiatives, but they hadn’t had a cause for a while and had been saving the money they had made.
Nathan also presented to his third-grade class, and the idea was well received; they wanted to take part in the fundraiser. Dollar Doughnut Day sales began.
Typically, the club raised about $30 of profit from each day of sales, but we knew from the first day of sales that profits weren’t going to be typical. Day one brought in $64.43.
As sales continued, Nathan was asked to share his presentation with the fundraising team at Westminster Christian School as well as the Westminster Christian School Board.
Day after day, story after story, God was stirring the hearts of people in the community to give and to give generously.
One of Nathan’s classmate’s families keeps a jar on their counter to throw spare change in, and one morning as the family left for school, the boy began emptying the jar and dispersing money to his siblings so they could buy doughnuts. Even after everyone had enough money for doughnuts, he still continued to empty the jar. His mom asked why he was getting more money. He told her he planned to buy one doughnut and give the rest as a donation. This child knew that he and his family had more than enough but not everyone has basic necessities. He knew that their spare change was little in comparison to what it could do for another 9-year old-boy in Africa.
Another classmate has a dad who works for the city water department. The boy and his dad talked about how providing clean water for people is what the people that he works with do for a living. He said they would be keenly aware of the need for water around the world.
“And my dad says that if people at the water department donate money, then maybe it would give my dad a chance to talk to them about Christ,” the boy said.
Nathan and his classmate made posters that could be hung on the walls throughout the city water facility. The dad hung the posters throughout his work, and he had several opportunities to share his faith. They donated $106.
Also, there were several students who knew they had money in their wallets, maybe $10, $15, or $25, and parents generously agreed to match their donations dollar for dollar. One third-grader had $20 to his name and his mom agreed to match if he gave that money.
“I am not just giving that,” he said. “First I need to figure out a way to make money more, and then you will have to match that amount!”
In the end, with the child’s money and his mom’s match, they were able to donate more than $100.
After 16 days of doughnut sales and many generous donations, a total of $2,060 was raised to provide clean water through Samaritan’s Purse. What started as one child with the hope of providing $400 for one well became an entire community of believers joining together to provide a handful of wells for clean water. It started with a conversation that stayed in our hearts, that put our faith into action, and that changed our lives.