Seven year-old Maribella goes to school in the East Village.
Every day she and her mother, Michelle, walk through Tompkins Square Park, where they see more and more homeless men and women suffering on the streets. Maribella decided she couldn’t just walk past them again and do nothing. So she figured out something even a second-grader could do to help.
About a year ago, Maribella began collecting loose change she found on the sidewalk and under couch cushions, keeping the spare pennies, nickels and dimes in a special jar on her bedside table. She carefully kept track of what she collected in a journal. Now, a year later, her jar holds $25 dollars in change! She decided she wanted to give the money to one of the homeless people she sees everyday – along with a note of well wishes:
“Dear _____, I’m giving you money because you need a house and food to [survive]. You might [be] able to get a [meal]. We collected this just for you, by picking up money from the ground. This might make you have a better life, cause we don’t want you to be homeless. Love, Maribella. We care about you”.
Maribella didn’t stop there! In addition to continuing to collect spare change, she and her mother will host a lemonade stand and stoop sale in Ridgewood, Queens this Saturday. The money raised will go towards helping even more homeless New Yorkers through the life-saving programs of the Coalition for the Homeless. Maribella and her mom will also be sharing our facts about homelessness with visitors to educate and raise awareness about homelessness in New York City.
Thank you, Maribella, for your compassion toward and support of our homeless neighbors. You are truly an inspiration to all of us!
Want to help? Visit Maribella and Michelle’s lemonade stand and stoop sale this Saturday at 11 am in Ridgewood, Queens at 65th St and 68th Avenue, or make a direct donation to the Coalition’s programs that serve 3,500 homeless men, women and children each day.
Maribella eagerly awaits customers to her charity lemonade sale.