When Charlie Brown was a toddler he needed to spend some time at Canberra Hospital. Now at 10 years old he’s running a fundraiser to help bring joy to other kids who are sick. He collects eligible bottles and cans to deposit with the ACT Container Deposit Scheme, and with his 10 cents for each, he buys toys for the children at Canberra Hospital’s Ronald McDonald House (RMH).
“I got the idea for this project because Mum was already volunteering and helping at RMH and although I was too young to become a volunteer, I still wanted to help,” says Charlie.
He explains that at school he had been learning about recycling and sustainability, and when he realised that he could help the planet and fundraise at the same time “it was like a lightbulb moment”.
Charlie says he has asked friends, family and neighbours to save their containers for him. “Mum helped me write a letter explaining the project, and we included a photo of me so people would know who I was,” he says. “Then Mum and I did a letterbox drop in our local streets.”
Five households have become strong supporters and leave their bottles and cans out for Charlie every fortnight. “There is one generous lady who will often come out and say ‘hello’ when she sees me collecting the containers,” says Charlie. “I also get Mum to help me write regular update letters with more photos, so my neighbours can see how much of a difference the project is making.”
Since beginning his fundraising in January this year, Charlie has returned around 3,000 containers to his local Return-It Cash-back Depot in Phillip – and raised $300. A little bit goes into his savings account, but mostly the money goes towards gifts for children in the hospital – he and his mum go shopping together so he can choose which toys to buy.
“When I deliver my donations to RMH I feel proud and happy. Proud because I’m doing something for an amazing cause. Happy because I love doing this, it’s so fun helping others and giving back to the community,” says Charlie. “I know that the gifts I buy with the recycling money are going to sick children and it will make them smile. I am so grateful to my family and friends for supporting my project.”