5-year-old Flo learns about helping others, as supplies collected for hurricane victims
by BRIAN NADIG
A Portage Park family has collected 50 boxes of supplies for Hurricane Florence victims as part of a learning experience for their 5-year-old daughter named Flo.
"We were trying to teach her a little lesson about charity … that not everyone is as lucky as us," Flo’s mother Tricia Wisniewski said.
Given that several people had mentioned to Flo that her full name matched the name of the hurricane, it seemed like a good time to teach her about the importance of helping others in a time of need and how the process of donation works, Wisniewski said.
Charities which respond to natural disasters often ask for monetary donations because it allows the organizations to efficiently collect and ship supplies that are needed the most in large quantities.
Wisniewski said that while she understands the usefulness of monetary donations, making an online donation would not have been a powerful enough illustration to her young daughter.
"She needed to see the dropping off (of the donated supplies)," she said.
The family set up a collection box on its porch at home and at the Gladstone Park fieldhouse, 5421 N. Menard Ave., where Flo attends "kiddie college."
Wisniewski said that she could not find a nonprofit organization in Chicago that was planning to collect and ship donated clothes, food, toiletries, diapers and other items to hurricane victims in the Carolinas. She found a charitable group in Ohio that would accept supplies for the victims, and DHL has agreed to ship the supplies to Matthew 25 Ministries in Cincinnati.
The Wisniewski’s plan to travel to Cincinnati to help Mathew 25 Ministries with its final preparations before the organization heads to the Carolinas.
Flo’s story has attracted a lot of media attention, and her mother said that her daughter is far from shy and has handled the situation quite well.
"She loves the attention," Wisniewski said. "She talks to everyone."