By Judy Reed
When his mom told him about the earthquake in Japan earlier this year, Noah Roberts, 11, decided he wanted to do something to help raise money for the earthquake victims. What he accomplished is amazing.
Roberts, the son of Yuko Roberts, of Cedar Springs, is half-Japanese, and while he didn’t have any relatives there hurt, he wanted to help. The Cedar View fifth-grader went to his principal, Mike Duffy, with the idea to possibly do a pop can drive. The two decided that might be too hard, and settled on a project called “Loads of Lincolns,” which challenged students to bring in their pennies, or change of any denomination. The drive lasted two weeks. When it was over, the money that the class collected weighed 322 pounds and totaled $1,217.44.
They hauled the money to Independent Bank, thinking that they had an automatic rolling system. But they didn’t. “They rolled it all by hand for us,” said Duffy. “We owe a big thank you to Independent Bank for that.” Noah’s mom, Yuko, also helped them roll the money.
Noah decided to give the money to the American Red Cross, who will donate it to their partner, the Japanese Red Cross. Amanda Meldrum, development associate at the Red Cross, and Deanne Berkowitz, communications coordinator, were on hand last week to receive the check from Roberts in a special ceremony at Cedar View.
“The West Michigan community has a long-standing reputation for giving in a disaster,” commented Meldrum. “It’s always a bit staggering to me how much they end up giving.”
Berkowitz agreed. “We’re lucky we have such a great community, with really generous people like Noah, who want to do the right thing—that’s important.”
Meldrum said that the money would be used in Japan as needs become apparent, and things unfold.
Yuko Roberts, who works for Kent District Library, has her own fundraising project—Project Senbazuru (Thousand Cranes). For every dollar, she will fold one paper crane, and when it reaches $1,000, she will send them to Japan with messages and prayers and the $1,000. She did well on the project through the KDL libraries, but is still waiting for a final number. “I’ve already folded 800 cranes,” she said.
For those who would still like to donate, there is a jar on the counter at the Cedar Springs Public Library.