Chase’s birthday wish: To raise $9,000 for Starfish Pack Program

The Abbotsford boy is passing up gifts for his seventh birthday in exchange for donations

The Facebook picture that started it all: Chase's request to raise $50 for the Starfish Pack Program in Abbotsford has ballooned into a goal of $9

The Facebook picture that started it all: Chase's request to raise $50 for the Starfish Pack Program in Abbotsford has ballooned into a goal of $9

Chase, age 6, has always had a kind heart and loves helping others, according to his mom, Eliza Miller.

When the two were discussing his upcoming birthday on March 22, Miller mentioned that they have too many toys in their home. She asked Chase what he could do for his birthday to avoid collecting more.

“First he wanted to give away all his things. Then he realized he likes his things and that would make him sad,” Miller said.

She said her son has always been curious about the food bank and other charities, and Chase wondered if his friends would give items to the food bank instead of giving him toys.

Miller had a suggestion for him. She knew about the Abbotsford Food Bank’s Starfish Pack Program, which provides backpacks filled with food for kids to take home on the weekends. Chase loved the idea.

“He said, ‘I have $50 in my piggy bank. If all my friends gave me a dollar, I’ll have $50 plus my $50, and then we will give that $100 to the Starfish program,’ ” Miller said.

The two made a poster to promote Chase’s plan and posted it on Facebook. Within 48 hours, $534 had been collected, enough to meet the $525 cost of filling one backpack for one child for an entire school year.

Chase was so encouraged by the response that he changed his goal. He is now aiming to collect $9,000 to fill 17 backpacks.

Miller said every day when Chase comes home from school, he looks at the list of donations and says: “Wow, Mom! People really care about the kids!”

Play Abby (2043 Abbotsford Way) is collecting donations on Chase’s behalf. Miller asks that people write their name with their donation because Chase would like to thank everyone personally.

Donations can also be made via PayPal at paypal.me/chasesbirthdaywish. For more information, visit “Chase’s Birthday Wish” on Facebook. Donations will be collected until March 31.

For more information about the Starfish Pack program, visit starfishpack.com. The program is coordinated locally by the Abbotsford Rotary Club and currently provides backpacks to 263 children in the community.