When 10-year-old Trinity Rose Berry of Carthage, Mo., heard about the deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo., she wanted to help, but she didn’t know how. As she learned more about the devastation, she began to focus on an area that has always interested her: helping children.
When 10-year-old Trinity Rose Berry of Carthage, Mo., heard about the deadly tornado in Joplin, Mo., she wanted to help, but she didn’t know how.
As Trinity learned more about the devastation, she began to focus on an area that has always interested her: helping children.
“She’s always tried to help kids out. She’s always liked them. She’s got a big heart,” said her father, Rhett Berry. “This evening, I heard all this noise out in the backyard. I went out there to see what was going on, and she had 10 kids out there teaching them volleyball.”
The proud dad said he and his wife, Shelly Berry, who is Trinity’s stepmother, had to go to Joplin with their dog to help with search and rescue efforts. When Trinity heard about it, she was more determined than ever to help.
She came up with the idea of raising money to buy toys to replace those lost in the deadly storm. Her goal is to raise $1,000 by July 16. Half will go to the Ronald McDonald House of Joplin, and she will use the other half to buy toys for children who are in shelters after losing their homes.
“We’ve raised $300 so far,” she said Friday.
She spent that weekend selling raffle tickets for $1 for an event on July 16. Prizes include original artwork by Bob Tommey, a print by Andy Thomas, Precious Moments figurines, gift certificates.
Mary Berry, Trinity’s grandmother, helped set up the raffle. She is a long-time employee of a local bank. She said there was some discussion as to whether they should hold a silent auction to take bids on some of the more valuable donations. Trinity held out for the dollar tickets.
“Trinity said she felt it would be more fair if we just drew tickets because some people might be able to afford to pay thousands of dollars for any painting they want, but someone who can only pay a dollar might like a painting just as much,” said Mary.
She also said she was impressed by her granddaughter’s sense of fairness and generosity.
“I am extremely proud of her, but I have been proud of her all of her life,” Mary said. “She’s one of the great blessings in our lives, and I’m glad she is able to pass this on.
“I can only imagine what those children are going through. Something as small as a stuffed animal can make a difference, and how hard is that to provide?” said Mary.
Trinity said her goal was simple, but she has been touched and a little overwhelmed by the success of her idea. She put up a Facebook page for her program, Children in the Eye of the Storm, and she reads all the comments personally and updates it herself.
“There was a girl who commented on the Facebook page who said her little nephew lost everything except his little blankie, and he hangs on to it all the time,” she said.
The post, by Katy Kelley, reads, “I would just like to thank you for what you are doing! My 3-year-old nephew lost his home and everything that was near and dear to him, and being a 3-year-old, that is mainly his toys. We dug through the rubble and actually found his ‘night-night’ (his blankie), and it was like Christmas when we returned it to him. He is such a good little boy and normally would share anything and everything with anyone ... since this tornado, he holds on so tight to every single item he owns. Though toys seem like just toys, to him, they are his world! Thank you (for) your generosity!”
Trinity said the post made her “tear up,” but it also shows why her program is so important.
She will be buying the toys to donate to the children in shelters. She said she has a wish list, but she will also be choosing things she thinks other kids will like. Her own favorites are stuffed animals and dolls.
“I enjoy stuffed animals. I just think they’re fun because you can cuddle with them when you’re scared,” she said. “I like baby dolls because I can treat them like my babies.”
Since she started her Facebook page and fundraising efforts, Trinity has been interviewed on the radio. Her parents say the experience is not only teaching her a lot but also helping her overcome her shyness.
“I would just like to thank everybody that’s supporting her,” said Shelly, Trinity’s stepmother. “Without their help, she couldn’t pull this off.”