Meet Peter Larson, 22 year old fundraiser from Minnesota. Based on my research about him, here is my imaginary interview.
Hi Peter. Who do you fundraise for?
Hi Gracie, I’m a fundraiser for homeless charity Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners and I raise money and awareness by sleeping out, on the street, in a cardboard box for all my holiday nights per year and, yeah, even in the freezing winter month of December. Even Christmas.
Wow! How old were you when you decided to start doing this? What inspired you?
Well, I was six years old and my Dad was a scout leader. His troop slept out in tents in the middle of the winter because of a man called Bob Fischer, he had started this movement called Sleep Out, where he slept outside every night of the holiday season. I was allowed to go along. Bob Fischer came to talk to us and, although I was just the little one scurrying around collecting tinned food donations, I really took notice of what Bob told us all that day.
That night, as I lay shivering in my sleeping bag, Bob’s words echoed in my head. ” Tomorrow you will all go home to a warm, safe home. Imagine if you weren’t. This is the reality many people, some children like you, face. But for just $500 a month, they can be housed.” I was only in first grade, but I thought “I can do what Bob’s doing! I can raise that!”
Does the money you’ve raised get sent to other countries?
No, all the money I raise is used in my county, Hennepin, Minnesota. I’ve even helped people in my immediate neighbourhood.
How many people have you helped so far?
I don’t know for sure, but my campaign has raised a lot of money over the years. I’ve also raised money from my congregation at church and received many kind and generous donations. It has been estimated by members of IOCP, Interfaith Outreach and Community Partners, the organisation that Bob was connected with, that I have helped over 1500 people find a home.
Have you ever got to visit a family you’ve been able help out of a tricky situation?
Yes, I went to visit Abdulahi and her kids quite a few years ago, she was shocked and touched that it was just a boy who gave her and her family a chance at being happy.
The little house was so cosy, so homely and the folk seemed so relaxed and content. It really made my heart sing.
Finally Peter, we hear from your Mother…
” If Peter deems something to be important, he goes at it with his entire heart…I’ve seen him with ice on his body and snow on his box…I wouldn’t stop him. You have to step back and let your child figure out what touches them, and with Peter it comes from the heart, not because he’s supposed to.”
You are truly amazing Peter and all of today’s children should aspire to be like you, including me. I know that the world would be a better place if the future generation thought like you do. Here are some photos of you over the years.