Contributions can be made at GoFundMe page
By Donna Hill
For the Fort Bend Star
When the rains came, 9-year-old Frannie Joseph and her friends knew animals would need her help.
After the devastation of Hurricane Harvey, disaster relief efforts and volunteers were working around the clock rescuing animals from flood zones, reuniting animals with owners, and sending animals that were adoptable out of Texas shelters to free up space at local shelters for new evacuees.
Frannie knew tearing out sheetrock or pulling out carpet and wearing a mask was something the Missouri City resident was not able to do. What she could do, however, was get her friends together and help the animals.
So she did.
The enterprising student raised $3,500, initially starting with a goal of $1,500. Frannie and her friends and family set up a lemonade stand near her home in Sienna Plantation, offering free dog biscuits to donator’s furry friends. After the students collected the donations, they delivered the money through a GoFundMe page, with funds going directly to The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), with money going directly to the HSUS Hurricane Harvey fund.
Frannie and her best friends, Jack Arrington and Caleb Jett, worked fast on an idea about what they could do for the animals.
“We took a picture and made a video about the Humane Society and what they did. Then we set up an lemonade stand near our home,” the budding entrepreneur from Sienna Crossing Elementary School explained.
With a little help from her mother – and Facebook – word got out about the little lemonade stand in Sienna Plantation for animals affected by the hurricane. Residents were invited to donate to Harvey’s Animal Helpers. The GoFundMe page is still open and donations continue.
Frannie recruited her own dogs, Maggie and Charlie, to help. As part of the marketing team for Harvey’s Animal Helpers, the four-legged, well-behaved assistants showed up at the lemonade stand as the kids collected donations. The event was about dogs, so the savvy, business-minded fourth grader brought free dog biscuits.
“We told people to bring their pets, meet Maggie and get free dog biscuits and lemonade.”
The $3,500 was collected in just a couple of days.
“After we evacuated, and then returned, the children saw the devastation around them,” said Frannie’s mother, Anita. “Our house was OK, but I told them they need to think of doing something to give back. We heard about all the animals displaced, lost and left behind. And that was heartbreaking for us to hear.”
Katie Jarl, the Texas Senior State Director for the Humane Society of the United States, recently drove to Missouri City to meet Frannie, her friends and her family. Jarl, who has been in the Houston area with family, wanted to see the lemonade stand and meet the kind fourth graders.
“I was with my own mom in Houston and said to her ‘do you want to ride out to Missouri City with me and meet Harvey’s Animal Helpers?’ My mom jumped in the car with me and we drove out to meet Frannie. And when we arrived they had the lemonade stand up – complete with dog treats and candy for folks stopping by and donating,” Jarl said. “It was brilliant marketing. There is a future for her in philanthropy. She explained to me exactly what she was doing with the lemonade stand, how she invited her teachers, her sisters, her neighbors, and you could see a community was rallying around this incredible amount of hope. That money will go so far in helping with disaster work post-Harvey.”
Jarl first heard about Frannie via the Washington, D.C., Donor Care line.
“I received a call from Frannie’s mom, telling us about Frannie and her friends and what they had done,” she said. “Her mom really wanted her daughter to meet someone from the Humane Society, so that Frannie could understand where the money was going and how it would help the animals.”
She was astounded by the amount of money Frannie raised in such a short amount of time.
“In times of disaster and heartbreak, we’re told to find hope in the helpers, and Frannie, Jack and Caleb were the exact helpers we needed, so we could find some hope over the past few weeks,” Jarl said. “I was so incredibly touched. Absolutely one of the most inspirational things for me personally to come out of Hurricane Harvey. Especially hearing about Frannie’s amazing mother – to nurture kindness and compassion in a 9-year-old.”
Jarl had already done several days of rescue work with the hurricane prior to seeing the students.
“We have been helping transport animals out of Texas since Harvey hit, such as taking adoptable animals already in shelters and shipping them to areas across the country so shelters in affected areas can focus solely on animals needing rescue here in Houston. Luckily we have been a part of many rescue and reunion stories since the storm hit.”
Anita Joseph, a school teacher at Sienna Crossing, encourages her children throughout the year to donate to the Humane Society. Frannie echoes her mom’s compassion by summing up what inspired she and her friends to step up.
“If that was me out there and stranded and alone, knowing this water was rushing in to meet me, I would be really scared. I wanted to do something to help,” she said.
Her goal is to keep bringing in more money for animals.
To volunteer with the Humane Society, visit www.hsus.org.
For Harvey’s Animal Helpers’ GoFundMe page, visit https://www.gofundme.com/harveys-animal-rescue-fund.