“Mom, I want to help the kids.”
Henry Ter Horst didn’t know where he wanted to donate his money.
He only knew he wanted to help kids.
And he had plenty of time to think about it. Staying home from school during the COVID-19 season had led to a string of carefree days.
Sure, he missed playing outside with his friends at Forest School through Holland Christian. He even complained sometimes about the meals his parents made. But even so, his time at home meant he could still enjoy his favorite activities.
At dinner one night, his parents explained how not all kids are so free of worry. The COVID-19 pandemic had complicated things for scores of families.
Without the safety net of school, which provides meals and other resources, many West Michigan children already struggling with food insecurity now struggled even more.
Hearing this, the kind-hearted kindergartner knew he wanted to help.
The next morning, Henry walked downstairs into his kitchen. He carried with him a box in which he’d cut a hole all on his own. He told his parents he wanted to collect money to place inside.
Together, they taped the box to their mailbox and encouraged neighbors to donate money.
“I asked my Mom to help me with the writing,” Henry said. “We wrote on the outside of the box: ‘Would you like to help children in need? Please put money in the box. Donating to Kids’ Food Basket. Love Henry.’”
Kids’ Food Basket is currently raising money for the Feeding Our Future campaign, a $2.5 million fundraiser aimed at funding a permanent location building in Holland, Michigan.
The building would expand services in Ottawa and Allegan counties and eliminate five schools currently on the waiting list.
As a resident of Holland, it seemed the perfect chance for Henry to help kids in his own city.
“We thought this was going to be something that people just put change into, or a couple dollars here and there,” said Jenna Ter Horst, Henry’s Mom.
But what Jenna didn’t take into account was Henry’s unwavering determination to help others.
When children set their mind to something, it’s truly awe-inspiring to see what they can achieve.
Henry knew he wanted to collect as much money as possible to help out.
“He started talking to our neighbors, he called grandparents,” Jenna said. “And then we decided to put this on social media to help get him some recognition and support from there.”
Friends across the country sent money online.
“At one point, we were going to take the box down,” Jenna said. “And people asked if we were going to put the box back out. So we did.”
End result? Henry raised more than $600 through his mailbox campaign.
The money went directly to Feeding Our Future.
“Henry has such a tender heart,” Jenna said. “And to see something like this come out of him at such a young age just made my husband and I very proud.”