Most six-year-olds use their birthday money to buy toys, but Benjamin Timleck had dreams of doing something bigger.
The Grade 1 Lakewood Elementary school student recently donated all his birthday money – totalling $111 – to victims of the wildfires that ravaged B.C.’s Interior.
“I wanted to use the money to help people in the fire,” Benjamin said.
The youngster had recently gone to his cousin’s birthday that was a toonie party, in which attendees brought toonies instead of gifts – an idea Benjamin fell in love with instantly.
When it came time to plan his own birthday, Benjamin, who moved to the West Shore from California a year ago, decided to invite his entire class and instead of bringing gifts, told guests to bring two toonies.
A lover of fire trucks, Benjamin knew he wanted to donate his money to firefighters.
“When we had piles of toonies in front of us, Ben just said ‘let’s give it all to the firefighters,’” said his mother, Sarah. “I said, ‘How about we give it to the B.C. wildfire relief?’ and he really thought that was a good idea.”
Last week Benjamin, his mother and grandparents presented a cheque to Langford Fire Chief Chris Aubrey and Tino Mendonca, with the Red Cross.
He also got sit in one of the department’s fire trucks.
“For him, the whole thing translated into the experience and the ability to be at the fire hall. That was pretty spectacular,” said Sarah, adding Benjamin enjoys the idea of heroism and helping people that comes along with being a firefighter.
“Being from California, we’ve always been very conscious of how devastating fires can be and what a big deal they can be. It’s made an impact on both me and Ben about how important it is to have those guys [firefighters] doing what they do.”
And Benjamin isn’t stopping there. He also has plans to raise more money through a lemonade stand and donate old items to charity.