Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 3, 2005
Battling Katrina bottle by bottle
A determined 10-year-old is gathering bottles, money, to send funds to hurricane victims
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
Catherine Saffran had a mission in mind when she checked out a book about hurricanes from her school's library. Television coverage in the United States convinced the 10-year-old that people needed some help.
If only she had some money to send them.
"I felt sorry for the people who were involved with Hurricane Katrina," said Catherine, a Grade 5 student at Holy Family School. "I wanted to know what hurricanes were made of and how they hit."
Seeing the devastation in Louisiana and Mississippi on television caused by Katrina, she immediately began to brainstorm.
Now she's busy collecting bottles and accepting cash donations in her quest to raise $1,000 - in $100 installments - for Red Cross efforts to help the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Collecting at Church
Her initial trip to the bottle depot netted more than $35. Catherine is optimistic she will make the first $100 after a Sept. 25 collection taken at the church. She will have a table set up during every Mass until Oct. 9.
"I'm glad the community is helping," she said, sitting beside several plastic bags filled with donated bottles.
Her mother says Catherine's heart has always been concerned for others.
"I think this is tremendous for her to take the initiative and to be creative getting the interest," said Line Saffran, business administrator of St. Theresa's Parish.
"I hope she opens a door for others."
Billions in damage
The death toll attributed to the hurricane is now more than 1,000 people. It is estimated the hurricane caused some US$200 billion in damage.
Catherine spent more than a week preparing posters and announcements. She stood on a busy Millwoods street corner near the church waving a poster to passing motorists.
Some waved to her; others honked their horns.
A few slowed down and told her they would be at church on Sunday to make a donation.
"A couple of people asked me what I was doing. I told them I was helping victims of Hurricane Katrina. They said they would drop off some bottles, cans and juice boxes."
Catherine enjoys current events. She has a sincere smile and bright brown eyes.
Line says, "Catherine has a genuine interest in all people."
Parishioner Wojtek Golebiewski made a cash donation, saying Catherine's effort is generous.
"She has been creative and resourceful, rising to the needs of a community so far away," he said. "She has created a phenomenal cause. Everyone should do it."
A proud dad
Dean Saffran had no idea what his daughter was up to. A master corporal in the Canadian reserve army, he is in full-time exercises in Wainwright, training for a tour of Afghanistan.
"I came home and found out that Catherine was doing this. It was a nice surprise," he said. "We now have had four or five calls from people in our area who have collected bottles for the cause. They said their garages are full. We'll have to make another run pretty soon," he said.
"I am very proud of what Catherine has done."
Anyone wishing to make a donation can call Line Saffran at 463-8646.