Natalie Achenbach believes little things, like chicken eggs, can have a big impact.
In September, the 11-year-old started selling eggs and donating the money to World Relief after she learned about the Syrian refugee crisis in school.
“If I’m only 11 and I can help, imagine what everybody else can do.” she said.
She’s raised about $800 thanks to World Relief’s donation policy that those funds will be matched 2-to-1 with federal money.
“She’s just a little angel that dropped out of the sky for us,” said Mark Kadel the director of World Relief’s Spokane office. “It’s kind of a challenge, ‘Hey if a little 11-year-old can raise $800 how about you?’ ”
Natalie is home-schooled and attends the Enrichment Cooperative at Bryant two days a week. That’s where she learned about the refugee’s plight.
“I felt sad that people just like me were forced to leave their homes,” Natalie said.
When she came home that day she told her mom, Lori Achenbach, that she wanted to help. Achenbach was skeptical.
“The images I saw and the stories I heard were so horrific,” Achenbach said. “But you kind of just push things out of your mind.”
The issue felt too far away for them to do anything about it, Achenbach said. However, spurred by Natalie’s concern Achenbach started looking into ways to help. Natalie’s teacher recommended the family contact World Relief. Natalie decided that she would sell eggs and donate the money to World Relief.
“A child’s idea to take her sadness about something and do something is more than we thought to do,” Achebach said.
The Achenbachs have sold eggs before for various causes. They have nine chickens who lay roughly an egg a day. Natalie said she sells the eggs by the dozen on a donation basis. The most someone has paid is $125, she said.
The money Natalie has raised will help refugees buy incidentals, like toothbrushes and other items that help them feel at home. Often food stamps don’t cover things like spices or other ethnic foods that might be important parts of a family’s home life, Kadel said.
“It helps to give them that extra boost,” he said. “You’re actually supporting someone here in your own town.”
World Relief helps resettle between 500 and 600 refugees per year, Kadel said. Of those, roughly 150 are school-age children.
Since she started selling eggs, Natalie has spoken on the radio and presented to Gonzaga Law students. On Friday she’s visiting the World Relief offices and meet refugees face-to-face.
“It’s been amazing to see how when you start something everyone else is excited to finish it,” Natalie said. “You just need to get them started.”
Correction: The school Natalie attends is the Enrichment Cooperative at Bryant.
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