Meet the Girl Who Launched Her Own Disaster Relief Project at Age 6: 'Age Doesn't Matter'
Raegan Junge was just 6 years old when she saw a news segment about a family who had lost everything to a tornado — and felt inspired to help.
"The people lost a lot of their belongings — and the kids who lived in the house even lost their toys," she said in a statement. "That’s when I realized it’s important to help people who have been in natural disasters."
So the little girl, from Keystone, Iowa, decided to launch her own non-profit organization in 2011 to help communities struck by natural disasters. And she started raising money in a way a 6-year-old could: Making and selling beaded bracelets.
Now 11, "Rae Rae" has sent supplies to 19 states and her efforts continue. When a tornado recently touched down in the nearby town of Benton, she helped gather supplies to help 48 families.
After making her bracelets, she takes them to local stores and places them beside the cash registers, so customers can take them and donate money. With the funds, she buys clothes, toys, tissues, baby items and other supplies before packing them in boxes for families.
"I always try to buy a mix of necessities and fun items, and we stockpile everything in my office," she said. "I'm proud that I can reach people all over the country."
But as her project has grown, so has her need for more space. So U.S Cellular decided to help her out.
The company recognized Raegan’s selfless acts for its 'Future of Good' program. They donated supplies to Raegan and gave her $10,000 to help rent a new storage space for two years.
“Raegan is a great example of someone who doesn’t wait for change to happen, she goes out and does something about it,” Grant Leech, vice president of brand management at U.S. Cellular, said in a statement.
Raegan will ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange along with five children also nominated for the “The Future Of Good” program.
"I want other kids to know that age doesn’t matter," she said. "Anyone can help other people. If everybody helps a little, it could become a lot. That’s why I want to help other kids my age get involved in helping their communities because they could learn that it’s actually so much fun."
Anyone interested in donating to Raegan’s Tornado Relief Effort, can click here for more information.