Never underestimate the power of a boy and his bicycle.
A kid from West London, England, started out with a plan – a plan to raise money for kids in Haiti.
“I want to do a sponsored bike ride,” said 7-year-old Charlie Simpson, in a message posted on a website, “because there was a big earthquake and loads of people lost their lives. I want to make some money to buy food, water and tents for everyone in Haiti.
According to published reports, Charlie rode five miles around a park on Sunday.
He hoped to raise 500 British pounds.
That’s approximately 800 US dollars – a pretty good effort for any fundraiser, not to mention a 7-year-old kid.
But when people saw the message Charlie posted on the Internet, contributions started pouring in from as far away as Hong Kong and New Zealand, according to the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC).
And when the British media picked up Charlie’s story, he got even more contributions.
By Monday night, the BBC reported that Charlie had raised more than 130,000 pounds.
(130,000 pounds is approximately $210,000).
He reportedly plans to donate the money to UNICEF – the United Nations agency that raises money specifically to help kids.
“The little seed – his idea – that he has planted has grown rapidly,” said David Bull, UNICEF UK’s executive director, according to CNN. “On behalf of the many children in Haiti, I thank Charlie for his effort.”
(UK stands for “United Kingdom.” The UK includes England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.)
According to CNN, the money Charlie has raised will help pay for water, as well as sanitation, education, nutrition and child protection programs.
Charlie’s parents say they’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the people who’ve contributed to his fundraiser.
“Charlie is so grateful to people for sponsoring him,” said his father, Dan Simpson, in an interview with the BBC. “And he is delighted his bike ride has meant UNICEF can help so many children in Haiti.”
All it took was a boy with a bicycle – and a determination to help.