Reston third grader raising funds for Embry Rucker Community Shelter

If there is an opportunity to help others, “just do it,” according to advice from Reston third-grader Benjamin Kamp.

The idea of helping others is an established value in the Kamp household as they have regularly donated and fundraised over the past six years to support their community and specifically Cornerstones. In previous years, Benjamin and his family have also created snack packs for kids at Embry Rucker Community Shelter and also donated winter coats and hats to the shelter.

“Benjamin’s always been a helper,” Liz Kamp, the eight-year-old’s mother, said. “Last year he made handmade holiday cards that he went door-to-door on our street raising money for Cornerstones and then sent the money in. He’s a kid that’s always looking to help people and make other people happy.”

Following in those philanthropic efforts, Benjamin decided he wanted to make more of an impact this year.

After going through a couple of ideas, he chose a t-shirt fundraiser and designed them with the slogan of “Be Kind.” printed on them. He is selling kids and adult shirts for $25 each with all proceeds from the fundraiser are going to Cornerstones to support the Embry Rucker Shelter, which provides emergency housing for homeless people.

“Some people can be mean to those people who don’t have much money, so just be kind,” Benjamin said.

Over just a few weeks, Benjamin has sold over 200 shirts, raising about $4,500. Benjamin initially began with 50 kids shirts to sell, but the popularity of the shirts and cause quickly exceeded the family’s initial expectations and beyond Benjamin’s initial goal of raising $1,000.

The shirts have become a popular sight for friends of the family and Benjamin’s teachers as they relay photos to them of people wearing the shirts around the community. It’s also become something Benjamin has enjoyed seeing.

“It’s so exciting to see a lot of my friends and people sending these pictures,” Benjamin said. “I’ve seen people like the things I make.”

The first order of shirts sold out within a day while adults were asking for shirts as well and has placed additional orders to continue to fill the demand. Benjamin sold an additional 24 shirts this past weekend at Lake Anne Plaza during the Farmer’s and Craft Markets, raising $600.

The family will be taking orders for adult shirts via email at [email protected] through Sunday night for another order.

On Saturday, Nov. 20, Benjamin will also be outside Liz’s shop New Trail Cycling & Strength at 1641B Washington Plaza North from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. to sell kids shirts and taking orders for adult shirts. There will also be a collection at the shop for welcome home baskets that will be donated to Cornerstones as a part of the businesses’s annual give back to the community and Cornerstones.

“I don’t want anyone to not like their life,” Benjamin said. “I want them to have a great life, not have a bad life. I don’t want them to hate their life, I want them to love it just the way it is.”

Shirts may be paid for via Venmo to Liz or by emailing a screenshot or forwarding a donation made on Cornerstone’s website with “Benjamin’s Shirts” in the comment box.

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