Kids to the rescue, $1 at a time

| Bridget Ryder | April 25, 2014 | 0 Comments
Andrew Floeder, a junior at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, drops off supplies for students at Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights to help create valentines for children at Mary’s Place | Sharing and Caring Hands, and veterans at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Home. The sixth-grade students in Ann Mattson’s class made 500 valentines. Photo courtesy of Kids to the Rescue

Andrew Floeder, a junior at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, drops off supplies for students at Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights to help create valentines for children at Mary’s Place | Sharing and Caring Hands, and veterans at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Home. The sixth-grade students in Ann Mattson’s class made 500 valentines. Photo courtesy of Kids to the Rescue

One dollar at a time, Andrew Floeder is working to raise $55 million for the Salvation Army.

A junior at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights, Floeder’s work as president of the charitable organization Kids to the Rescue made him a distinguished finalist in the Prudential Spirit of Community Awards, the nation’s largest youth recognition program based exclusively on volunteer community service. To date, Kids to the Rescue has raised more than $50,000.

Floeder’s family started the organization in 2005 after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast. Floeder, his older sister, Rachel, and a friend wanted to help alleviate the suffering of kids down south. Floeder was in third grade, and his sister and her friend were in sixth grade.

“My sister and I thought — and her friend — if we could just get kids K-12 to donate $1,” Floeder said.

Based on the number of school-aged children in the U.S., $1 from each of their cohorts across the country would total about $55 million. With the help of Floeder’s mother, Deb Floeder, they contacted a number of non-profit and charitable organizations. The Salvation Army — a national Christian charitable organization — responded positively to the Floeders’ idea, and Kids to the Rescue became a charitable organization. No money goes back into the organization, but rather, lands in the coffers of the Salvation Army.

“The mission is to teach kids to help other kids in need, knowing that kids can make a difference,” Floeder said. “However small, it will add up in the end.”

To take the fundraising national, Annette Bauer, public relations director for the Salvation Army, helped with the marketing, and a family friend created a website. Though neither of the Floeder children had a Facebook page at the time, schools from outside of the Twin Cities have responded to their call to help since 2006.

Three years ago when Rachel went off to college at New York University, Andrew took over as president — organizing fundraising activities from start to finish, soliciting volunteers, and collecting and delivering supplies. In between volunteering and school, he also participates in tennis, track and swimming. The hardest part for Floeder is time.

“There’s not enough time in the day to get the full benefit with what everyone has to offer,” he said.

The fundraising work continues annually with the Send Love campaign, when Kids to the Rescue challenges students to donate $1 during their classroom Valentine’s Day party. This year, Floeder worked with sixth-graders at his elementary school, Convent of the Visitation School in Mendota Heights, to make 500 valentines for kids at Mary’s Place | Sharing and Caring Hands in Minneapolis, and veterans at the Minneapolis VA Health Care System Home.

Floeder and other volunteers also ring bells for the Salvation Army’s red kettles at professional sports games and the Mall of America. Over the years, their efforts have benefited victims of the earthquake in Haiti and natural disasters across the U.S. They have also organized fundraisers at their schools — bagel sales and free dress days that let students who donate $1 come out of uniform for a day.

But Kids to the Rescue isn’t just about money. Projects also include cleaning kettles for the Salvation Army, making Easter baskets, collecting necessities for families at homeless shelters, and shoveling out fire hydrants.

A highlight for Floeder was meeting with former president Bill Clinton in 2005. Clinton met with the founders of Kids to the Rescue when he was in St. Paul and mentioned the organization in his book “Give.”

“Bad things happen to good people, so you have to help them,” Floeder said.

To learn more, visit http://www.kidstotherescue.org.

 

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