HAMBURG, NY-- The devastation caused by Hurricane Harvey in Texas and Hurricane Irma in Florida broke hearts across the country, but it also inspired young people in Western New York to do something to help.
At Bemus Point in Chautauqua County, Jack and Max Lingenfelter and their friends Cole and Zac Lindquist used their common love of bike riding to create a Bike-A-Thon Fundraiser.
"They could've lost some pets. They lost their house. They lost clothes. They lost toys. That's really sad stuff to go through," said Cole Lindquist.
In a matter of just six days, the boys planned the event and raised $2,058 for the Red Cross with the help of their parents, the First Presbyterian Church in Jamestown and many others. About 30 people took part in the Bike-A-Thon at Ellery Park in Jamestown. Some rode one mile, others rode as many as 18 miles. The boys said every mile they rode, they thought about the victims.
"They don't have a house, food or water, so that's why it feels good to raise the money," said Zac Linquist.
Max and Jack's mother, Liz Lingenfelter, said the boys learned a very important lesson, that "even a few kids can make difference for those suffering so far away."
The same lesson was being taught in Mrs. Laurel Cerone's 5th grade class at Big Tree Elementary in the Frontier School District in Hamburg.
On just the second day of school last month, the class decided to give out little paper hands to the students to be colored and returned with a $1 donation. Many, however, donated more.
"Our goal was $300 and we got that in a day," said 5th grader Jack Michlinski.
The children did all the work by writing classroom letters, creating posters, hanging the hands and collecting money. Within just one week they raised $1,100.09, thanks to the generous spirit of the students and families at Big Tree.
"Just because they're little, doesn't mean they can't achieve something amazing," said Mrs. Cerone.
In addition to reading, writing, and arithmetic, the students learned early on this school year that small hands make a big difference.