A 2-year-old girl from Kennewick has already helped raise thousands for good causes
KENNEWICK, Wash. — Maddie isn’t even 3 yet, and she’s already given back to the Tri-Cities in a big way.
Since July, the young Kennewick girl and her parents have raised thousands of dollars for local fundraisers and collected enough food for charity to fill an entire Chevy Suburban, her mom Maren Bam says.
Maren says she and her husband Joshua are both lawyers who’ve dedicated themselves to helping others. She works with people with disabilities and he works with nonprofits. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they wanted to find a way to keep their daughter busy while also teaching her something positive.
The first idea they came up with was a muffin, pancake and coffee stand called “Maddie’s Muffins & Coffee” to raise money for an initiative that would ensure people with disabilities get their due benefits in a timely manner. Maren said she and her daughter made homemade muffins and pancakes and dad took care of the coffee.
The stand raised over $1,000, about $250 of which came from a group of Kamiakin High School football players after their coach noticed the stand and brought them to get snacks, Maren said, adding that she was very thankful for their support.
The next project was a canned food drive for the Union Gospel Mission, a local nonprofit that helps people experiencing homelessness. The drive was sponsored by the Columbia Center Rotary Club, which Maddie’s dad Joshua is a part of, said Maren.
Maddie’s family had people drop off bags of food at their house, spreading awareness with help from neighbors and social media. Maddie helped sort the food before it was loaded up in a Suburban to be donated. It ended up filling the entire SUV.
The most recent project was a mobile popsicle stand dubbed “Maddie’s Popsicle Meltdown,” which consisted of her dad riding on a bike as she sat in a bike trailer with a box of popsicles to sell around the neighborhood. They played ice cream truck music from a speaker as they rode.
Amazingly, they raised another $1,000 — this time for a local fundraiser called “Beats by Joel.”
The fundraiser was started by Joel Watson, owner of Just Joel’s Cafe in Kennewick, and will benefit kids starting school this fall by providing them with headphones for remote learning. Watson told KAPP-KVEW he cried tears of joy when he learned how Maddie and her parents were spending their time together.
Maren said her family doesn’t plan on quitting their projects anytime soon. She said the next one will be for school supplies for kids, and she hopes to come up with a new project every couple weeks to teach her daughter the importance of helping others.