Family performs chores to raise funds

An 11-year-old Unionville Elementary fifth grader and his family recently donated $1,000 to the Community Shelter of Union County.

That’s not totally unusual, but how they did it is. The parents and son Keaton performed manual labor for contributions.

“My mom (Katie) and dad (Will) thought of it,” says Keaton.

His father explains. “We were not really able to spend time with our families over the holidays, so we wanted to do something for other people.”

Keaton tells how they raised the money. “First thing, my dad told everyone in our family that I was offering to do chores for money that would be donated to the Community Shelter.”

“The first people to take me up on it were my grandparents, and they told me I could leaf blow their yard,” Keaton says. That’s a chore he performs at his own home.

After that, he and his dad moved on to removing a fallen tree, with dad Will cutting it up and Keaton splitting the logs with a maul, and more fundraising opportunities

Keaton says they didn’t charge for their services, but instead asked for donations. “People were very generous; they just gave big donations.”

He also says his 2-year-old sister Karlynn helped just a little bit. “She has the cuteness factor,” he explains, which “raised us about $50.”

How much time did they spend doing chores?

“A lot,” Keaton quickly says. Will says Keaton would come home from doing the chores, eat dinner and want to lie down. “He didn’t have any trouble sleeping, let’s say that.”

Keaton agrees that it was more labor than he was accustomed to.

“We did it as a family,” Will says, “but he did his share, that’s for sure. We wanted him to be involved in a way that he would see that we work hard to provide for our family, but we also want to provide for other people when we have more than we need. We wanted him to do his share and understand that you have to work hard for money.”

Keaton chimes in, “Money just doesn’t appear. I’ve learned about money and that it’s very hard to get. I understand how hard it is to get and how easy it is to become homeless. I also learned that if you have a home, you should be thankful for it. I’m blessed to have our home. Some people don’t have that; they’re less fortunate.”

For an 11-year-old, Keaton has an unusual understanding of homelessness.

“I know that being homeless isn’t just poorness exactly. It can mean that they might have money, but just not enough money.”

Keaton realizes that the movie visual of hunger and homelessness is not common in Union County.

“When people think of homelessness, they usually think of people living in cardboard boxes and stuff. And that can happen sometimes, but it’s usually not that.

“The cardboard box and people begging for food ­– that’s just not what we have here. Maybe in big cities, though.”

Locally, Keaton says, hungry residents “are having to spend all the money that they’ve worked really hard for on rent, and they just don’t have enough to pay for anything else.

“I think they should make paying rent for houses a lot cheaper. That would stop a lot of homeless cases.”

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