Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Local Hero: Chester boy's effort aims to help birds in the Gulf oil spill

A 9-year-old Chester boy was so affected by what he saw on television about the Gulf oil spill that he decided to do something about it.

Jack Wimmershoff is raising money for the National Audubon Society, which conserves and restores natural ecosystems, focusing mainly on birds and other wildlife.

"He came in one night I was in the kitchen, and he drew this picture,'' his mother, Dru Wimmershoff says. "He showed it to me and he asked if he could sell copies for a dollar and raise money for this particular Audubon Society.''

The picture is of a pelican standing in oil-slicked water with oil staining its wings.

Jack's been selling his drawing around town and it turns out people are so affected by it that they are giving him a dollar apiece for it, and sometimes even more.

"We've been very pleasantly surprised about the outpouring of support and everybody that we've approached has wanted to get involved in some way,'' Dru Wimmershoff says. "Everybody's been very impressed that Jack's a young kid, and I think people feel very moved that he's so excited about being able to help, even if it's in his own way. I think he kind of inspires everybody else.''

It's inspired everybody else to the tune of around $400 so far.

Jack and his mom have been standing outside of a local Shoprite selling the drawing to customers when they walk in and out of the store. He also received help from Nelson Hassan, owner of the Krauszer's in Chester, who put out a coffee can with Jack's drawing on it right by his cash register on the store counter, where people also have been donating.

"My goal right now is to raise a thousand dollars,'' Jack says.

Besides trying to help the Audubon Society, the socially conscious boy also wants to see an end to the oil problem in the Gulf.

"My thoughts are that I think we really need to get a plug soon to make sure that it can restore the ecosystem for the birds down in the Gulf,'' Jack says.

As to why he felt the urge to get involved, the answer is simple.

"I like to draw and I thought it would just be a great way to help the birds because I really like the environment and it would help raise money,'' he says.

Those interested in helping Jack in his cause can make checks payable to the National Audubon Society and send them: care of Jack Wimmershoff, 12 Highland Drive, Chester NJ, 07930. Donations also can be made directly to the National Audubon Society at: National Audubon Society, 225 Varick St. NY, 10014 attention: Gulf Coast Oil Spill Disaster.

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