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It’s Devin’s birthday….but Haiti gets the presents

Haiti, February 9, 2010

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  <span class="field-credit">
    Amy Kohnstamm/Mercy Corps  </span>
    Devin Greene, whose birthday party raised more than $1,000 for Haiti, with his younger brother, Aidan. Photo: Amy Kohnstamm/Mercy Corps

Devin Greene is just 7 years old, but the first-grader at Ainsworth Elementary School in Portland, Oregon, knew exactly what he wanted for his birthday: lots of presents — for Haiti.

“We do a whole year of community service at school,” Devin explained. “So I thought up the idea to help the people in Haiti.”

“Why did you want to help them?” I gently probed. Devin looked at me like I was from Mars. “Because they had an earthquake!” he exclaimed. “You must know that!”

I admitted that I had indeed heard about the earthquake. “I felt bad that they had it,” Devin continued, adding with a bright smile, “and I felt so happy to help!” He even posed cheerfully for photos with his younger brother, Aidan, while his older brother, Gavin, looked on.

Instead of birthday gifts, Devin asked the 55 children attending his party (held at a community center, not at home, as his mom was quick to point out) to contribute to Mercy Corps’ relief and recovery work in Haiti. When his bucket of money was counted, Devin’s party yielded an impressive $1,025.

“I’m excited to send the money to Haiti,” said Devin as he handed his haul to a Mercy Corps staffer, “because I never did this before.” With the fundraising success he’s already achieved, you can bet Devin will soon be looking for other ways to be of service.