Joel Vs. Poverty

In just over a week six year old Joel Saunders will be running two miles for charity. After seeing a documentary by the charity Tearfund he was moved to start a ‘Poor Box’ and then set himself a fundraising challenge.

We heard from Joel’s dad in the run up to Joel’s two mile run:

“My son Joel is six years old. He is quite an amazing boy, for lots of reasons. One of them is this: he has worked out that the world is unjust; he has learned that poverty exists, and he is not happy about it. He had heard a few things at school and church, but when we watched a short video made by Tearfund, he decided that he couldn’t just stand by and let this happen.

So for the past few weeks, he’s been badgering everyone he meets to donate money to his fundraising appeal. It’s not hugely developed or even politically correct – it’s a cardboard Frubes container with the words ‘Poor Box’ written on the side.

This really hasn’t come from my wife and I. To be honest, we’d probably never have thought it was fair to weigh down a six year old with the troubles of the world – but he’s teaching us that children have an amazing sense of justice. So we asked him to dictate to us how he was feeling. These are Joel’s words, unedited. He may not be perfectly informed, but his heart is genuine:

“I’m getting really sad about the people who are poor in the world. I don’t understand who did this to them. I watched a video about people who are poor, and I want to help them. There has to be somewhere for them to live like a proper house, and I want someone to give them lots to eat. I want the children to have proper toys, like proper balls, toy trains… I’ve got so many toys at home, and they’ve got none. It isn’t fair that they drink dirty water from wells, and we get clean water from our taps. Some of them can’t go to school, and they don’t have any money. I want to help them so that they can have lots of food to eat.”

Joel is getting frustrated that he can’t raise much money with the ‘Poor Box’.  So, again of his own volition, he decided he’d like to do a sponsored challenge. He has decided to run for two miles (which is further than his dad can comfortably run), and so we’ve set a date in a couple of weeks time to do it. His original aim was to raise £60, because that seemed to him to be the sort of amount that can do some serious good (his other suggestion was ‘a trillion pounds).”

You can find out more about Joel’s challenge and sponsor him on his fundraising page.


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