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For young fundraisers, lending a helping hand runs in the family

At 11, Coleton Benham is already a seasoned veteran when it comes to fundraising efforts for his Brush Book Bed program.

The Conestogo Public School student started the fundraising program to help other kids, collecting essentials like toothbrushes, pajamas and books for kids who may usually go without, completing their bedtime routines.

Over the past couple of years, Benham has collected hundreds of items for kids in Ontario and, along with Woolwich Community Services’ backpack program, handed out bundles to kids all over Woolwich Township.

Now, he is hoping his brother, Lucas, will take over while he works on other projects, helping the kids in the community.

“Lucas just turned eight and he has been helping me fundraise and all that stuff,” he said. “I just need to help him learn how to fundraise.”

With Lucas’ help, Benham collected even more this summer, all while showing his younger sibling the ins and outs of Brush Book Bed.

“It went really well over the summer. We got over 200 toothbrushes, pajamas and books that are slightly used,” he said. “The Optimist Club in Conestogo also gave us lots of donations. I was at the Optimist Club fireworks (on Victoria Day) and sold things there to help.”

Last year, Benham also hosted a fundraising birthday party. He asked his friends at the party to bring donations for his charity rather than presents for himself. He says he has enough at his house, and wants to make sure everyone has something of their own.

“It is really important to help others. They might not have the same things that we have and it is important to help them feel like they have something,” he shared. “I just want to share what I have.”

This year’s donations were handed out just a couple of weeks ago with the backpacks at Woolwich Community Services.

He doesn’t know what is next for him, but his mother, Jenny, says he has lots of ideas.

“He wants to save the world,” she said with a laugh.

Benham also runs the Books2Boys program, supplying hockey themed books for pre-novice hockey players in the region.

To help Benham out by donating brand new toothbrushes, new pajamas or slightly loved books, he can be reached by email at books2boys@hotmail.com.

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