Aiden VanGulk wasn’t initially sure where he wanted to donate any money he raised.
But his heart was always in the right place.
“I just decided to do this,” said the eight-year-old Rolph St. Public School student Saturday morning just inside the entrance to Zehrs.
Raising money for a worthy cause was completely Aiden’s idea says his grandma Judy VanGulk, who came onboard in a variety of supportive roles.
“He just didn’t know where he wanted to donate.”
Apart from providing logistical support, Judy suggested Aiden consider the Children’s Wish Foundation.
“Since it’s a child’s donation, give it to another child,” she explained.
Judy also rounded up musician Mark Hasson of Braided Together to provide a form of literal background music to Aiden’s efforts. The latter set up his table at the Zehrs’ entrance, with the former strumming his guitar several metres to the rear through a mix including country, 70s, gospel, “and oldies for the older people,” interjected Judy.
Before tuning up, Hasson had already received one request – from Dave, the manager at Zehrs.
“He told us to keep it down a little, not too noisy,” smiled Hasson, admitting performance may in fact be influenced by generosity. “The more they put in, the better I play.”
With the blessing of principal Jim Bartley, Aiden’s Grade 2/3 Rolph Street classmates had already given him a running start in the form of around 70 penny rolls.
“He’s also got another $50 he’s already collected,” said Judy.
“I’m hoping for maybe $275 or $300,” said Aiden.
The trio set up a table complete with penny rolls, Children’s Wish literature, a cookie jar and cookie tin for contributions just prior to 11 a.m. Saturday, finishing off their shared fund-raising efforts at 2 p.m. that afternoon. Throughout that time, the generosity of Zehrs’ patrons pushed Aiden’s final total for the Children’s Wish Foundation well past even his more optimistic goal to $585.
While thanking everyone for their generosity, Judy also reiterated pride in her grandson’s original concept.
“Very, very proud,” she concluded.