By Rachel Laskow

children donating money to tsunami victims
Children play and look at money donated at the base of Philbert, a bronze pig statue, that will be part of a Tsunami relief fund, at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia, Friday, December 31, 2004.
(Photo: Jacqueline Larma/AP Wide World)

January 7—An eighth-grade class in Washington State had been saving since September for a class trip to Canada. But when disaster struck in South Asia, the class voted to stay home and send their money to another continent. The class donated $1,860 to the Red Cross to help tsunami victims in South Asia.

"It's better to help someone who really needs it," said class president Rachel McGonagle.

Kids around the U.S. are joining McGonagle and her classmates in lending a helping hand. Fourth grade students in Louisiana are showing their support by selling magnetic hands to people to raise money for disaster relief.

"We're all people and people should help other people," said11-year-old Viola Dejean.

After seeing devastation from the tsunami on TV, third-grader Kelsey Reilly decided to hold a bake sale. Kelsey and her friends sold cupcakes, hot chocolate, and pretzels in their "Children Helping Children" sale. They raised more than $600.

"We wanted to help [the victims] by giving them money for food and water," Kelsey said.

Fourteen-year-old Elizabeth Longmire and her neighborhood friends also held a bake sale. They earned $400 and plan to donate it to the Red Cross.

"The death toll is 50 times that of 9/11, and there are so many children involved," Elizabeth said. "They need a whole lot of money, and this makes me feel like I did what I could to help out. I didn't just sit around."

Some kids are even giving their Christmas money to the cause. Ten-year-old Grant Dunn of Washington State was going to use his money to buy a video game, but when he saw the news of the tsunami, he donated his $13 to the relief effort.

"Maybe they might use it to make a shelter or get food or help out," Grant said. "I thought it would be good to help people because they just went through a major incident."

Besides raising money from a lollipop sale, students at Beach Middle School in Michigan are using the fund-raising opportunity to educate fellow students about the disaster. One student made a poster showing a before-and-after image of a house in a tsunami-affected area. On the poster, she wrote, "Please help people rebuild their communities."

Even kids as young as second-graders are asking how they can help. In Kentucky, students looked at a globe as they asked their teacher questions.

"We have to help the kids in Thailand," said 8-year-old Nina Ros.

Are you or someone you know doing something to help tsunami victims? Send us your story and we'll print as many of them as we can.